Raising goats can be one of the most beneficial and rewarding activities for someone who wishes to raise livestock.
Goats have more uses than any other animal and on top of that, they have the best personalities and get into the funniest situations, even though oftentimes you must help them get out!
Raising Angora goats and other livestock in a small farm operation can be profitable and beneficial to the land. To raise Angora goats, you need to have enough land and vegetation for them to graze and browse. You will also need the correct type of fencing to keep them contained and a small amount of easy to obtain livestock equipment.
Angora goats are most well-known for the mohair type of fibers that they produce. Many of the world’s finest fabrics use mohair and the texture is very comfortable and pleasing.
Along with the production of mohair Angora goats also graze and browse land, making them perfect for clearing brush and keeping the grass down.
If you are considering raising goats, Angora goats might be the breed that best suits your needs.
We’ve made this guide to help you along the way. Please read to the end to find our resources and pro tips on raising Angora goats.
Why Raise Angora Goats
There are some obvious benefits to raising Angora goats, but they are more tailored to what your needs are.
If you are wanting to start a small Angora goat farm, to harvest the mohair fibers then you have chosen the right breed.
The Angora goat’s primary use is their fiber. They do not produce a lot of milk so you would not use them as a milk goat. You could harvest their meat, even though they are not meat goats if, for instance, you have a goat that is not of your liking or quality and would just like to get rid of it.
Goat meat is lean and has less cholesterol than other meats, it’s a healthy alternative to other red meats.
Angora goats can make for good pets too, who doesn’t like a pet goat? They can be very entertaining!
They also graze a browse the land keeping the vegetation down and the bottom of trees trimmed.
So now that you have decided that collecting the mohair fibers from angora goats is what you are wanting to do then let’s get to the good stuff.
A Few Terms to Get Familiar With
First off there are a few words and terms that you should get familiar with when raising Angora Goats.
A female goat is called a doe.
Male goats are called bucks, or billy goats.
When goats breed it is called “kidding” and baby goats are called “kids”. Goats usually have 1-3 kids, but Angoras usually only have 1-2.
Wethers are males who have were castrated at a young age and can be kept with the other female goats, whereas bucks need to be kept separate.
Goats graze on grasses, and some bushes and will help keep the land you are using maintained by grazing the pastures.
Goats also browse, meaning they clear brush and trim the vegetation off the lower parts of trees. This can be highly beneficial to the land.
Mohair is the fibers that Angoras produce, the fibers are highly sought after and are used in luxury type garments.
Some goats are raised only for their meat, while Angora goats can be eaten they are primarily raised for their fibers.
All goats produced milk, and some are raised solely for that purpose, however, Angora goats are mostly raised for their fibers but can be eaten.
Raising Angora Goats
So, you want to raise angora goats? Here are a few facts about angora goats to help you get started.
- Angora goats originated in Turkey
- They produce mohair fibers that are very sought after
- Their first kidding is at two years instead of as yearlings
- The average lifespan is just over 10 years
- Their gestation period is much longer than other goats
- They do better in dry open range conditions
- Angora goats can be raised in cold and hot climates.
- Both sexes are horned
- Ears are long and droopy (and adorable)
A small goat farm operation can be profitable when raising angora goats. Their mohair fibers are harvested and used in many products.
How Much Land is Needed to Raise Angora Goats?
Angora goats are smaller than other domestic goat breeds. They do still require a good amount of land and when raising any kind of goat, you want to have multiple areas that they can be kept.
Moving them from one pasture to the next, or from one part of the yard to the other will help keep the grass down in areas that you want, and will keep them fed by alternating, allowing the grass to regrow in areas.
You can have just one goat, but its recommended that you keep at least two because they do better with a companion. Believe it or not, goats can get lonely too!
The amount of land needed per goat depends on how much vegetation grows in the area.
The average rule of thumb is 1-10 goats per acre, and that is a pretty big range for that number.
What Kind of Fencing is Needed?
You will need to put up the appropriate type of fencing for goats. Goats are very stubborn animals and some testing will need to be done during this process.
Goats need a tighter fence than cattle fencing, so if you already have cattle fencing you will still need to re fence the area you intend on keeping goats in.
The fencing needs to be at least 48 inches high (but we recommend 5′ tall) and will need to have holes no larger than 4 inches. Goat fence material specific for goats are usually made up of rolls of 4-inch squares of woven wire that are 48 inches tall.
You also have the option of electric fencing which has many pros and cons. One of the pros is that it is easy to put together, 5 strands, and fits in places that the squared fencing cannot go such as heavily wooded areas.
Fencing I would not recommend is cattle fencing and fencing that is welded together, welds do not hold up to what goats put them through.
You will also need good gates, as you will be moving goats from time to time, out of the rain or weather as well as to new pastures for feeding.
Pro Tip – Use gates that swing inward, that way you can push the goats away as you open the gate to the goat pen. It is also good to have two gates per area, one for the goats and one for human traffic.
Do as much research as you can for what works best for your property; it may help to visit other goat farms to get some ideas. There will also be some trial and error as goats are very stubborn and will often test every limit of your fencing!
Covered Area for Goats
You will also need a covered area for your goats. Goats do not like to be wet and need shelter during rain or snow.
For this, you will need to build a goat shed or a lean-to type building for them to enter during these seasons.
These enclosures can also be used for kidding (breeding) and for sick goats that need to be separated with special care.
You can use tin or wood, as long as there is a roof that keeps them out of the elements.
Consider building it close to electrical outlets for things like heat lamps and lights that are sometimes needed in cold weather.
How Does Harvesting the Fibers from Angora Goats Work?
Fiber goats are an awesome way to make a profit from your goat operation and Angora goats make one of the most sought-after fibers, called mohair.
Angora goats must be sheered every 6 months, so you will be able to harvest fibers twice a year.
The fleece of Angora goats grow in uniform locks and grow to be about 8-12 inches long yearly.
The yearly yield of fibers per goat is about 5 pounds. The fleece can be sold locally or sold to mills, and or through the internet.
Some Goat Fiber Collection Terms:
- Greasy Wool
The fleece is made up of the fibers that the Angora goat produces. When you shear a goat, you are shearing the fleece/fibers.
Shearing an Angora goat is the process where you remove the fibers/wool by shearing the animal with hand shears or electric shears.
Angora goats have long fibers which makes it easier for someone who is a novice to clip the fleece instead of shearing it.
A mechanical process that breaks up clumps and locks of hair and aligns individual fibers so that they are the same length.
The dehairing process is when you separate longer coarse hairs from the fine hairs, the finer hairs are the finished product where the course hairs are separated and used for different things or discarded.
All goat fleeces have oils that must be removed to complete a finished product. Greasy wool is the term for the unprocessed fleece.
What Equipment is Needed to Raise Angora Goats?
Raising Angora goats comes with some basic needed equipment. This includes feeding equipment, tools like pitchforks and more.
Here is our list of basic equipment for raising Angora goats:
- Goat Book (To keep records)
- Hoof Trimmer
- Heat Lamps (To keep kids warm)
- Scale and Thermometer
You will want to keep a record book, to record weights, and record various information about your herd.
Some basic tools like pitchforks and wheelbarrows are needed to move hay around and stage areas for the goats. Boots and gloves are also recommended.
Hoof trimmers and files are needed to keep the goat’s hooves trimmed and healthy.
Sheers are needed to harvest the mohair fibers; you can use hand shears or mechanical shears or both.
Heat lamps are also used during births and sometimes when a sick goat needs special attention.
Scales and thermometers are used to keep track of the health and needs of the goats.
Some specialized equipment:
- Goat Pens
- Water Containers
Goats do not just feed on the grass and bushes; they also need added supplements like hay and minerals. You will need specialized hay feeders and mineral feeders.
You will need smaller pens that fit into the back of a truck for moving goats to different parts of the land that require vehicle access and also for taking goats to auctions and fairgrounds. As well as bringing new goats home from auctions.
Water containers are used to water the goats. If you live in an area with cold harsh environments, you will need a heated water trough to keep the water from freezing.
You will want to consider what all your needs are when deciding what kind of equipment is needed. Most small goat farm operations only need a small amount of easily attainable equipment.
You may also want to consider some specialized medical equipment (a drench gun) for administering things like deworming medicines.
While goats are pretty easy to maintain there is some labor involved in the shearing process and other things may be needed such as a back brace (you have to bend over a lot when shearing).
Some Techniques for Shearing Angora Goats
- Clean goats are much easier to shear
- Goats must be dry when shearing
- Do not shear the same area twice
- Clipping is easier than shearing for novices
You want to wash your goat before you shear them, you do not want clumps of dirt getting into the fleece. However, make sure the goat is completely dry when starting the shearing process.
You do not want to shear the same spot twice because you want to keep the lengths of the fibers as uniform as possible for the final yield/yarn.
Clipping is much easier than shearing and is recommended for beginners. Some people will also hire someone to do the shearing as the process uses electrical shears and can be very laborious.
Crossbreeding Angora Goats
Angora goats can be crossbred with a couple other types of goats for different reasons and results.
You can crossbreed Angora goats with Pygmy goats resulting in a (Pygora). The reason for crossing these breeds is mainly in the types of fibers they produce. Pygoras make cashmere and mohair, but this can also dilute the quality of mohair specific needs. These crossbreeds produce a finer fiber that is used for hand spinning (turning fibers into yarn)
These goats were first crossbred in Oregon in the 1980s. Another benefit of crossing these two is that they produce more milk than an Angora goat. Angora goats do not make a lot of milk, usually just enough for their kids and in some cases not enough, and you must supplement with formula.
The next crossbreed is the Nigora goat. This is a cross between the Angora the Nigerian Dwarf goat.
Crossing these two also results in a milk-producing goat. These goats were the first to be bred to create a fiber producing milk goat.
If you are considering raising goats for milk this could be an option for you.
A large amount of the breeders for Angora goats live in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona with a small number of breeders in other states.
Can Angora Goats be Used for their Meat?
Angora goats are primarily used for their fiber producing capabilities, but they do also make good healthy meat.
Usually, they are only used for meat when culling your heard of problem goats or goats that aren’t producing a quality fleece.
Goat meat is extremely healthy. The meat from yearlings is the most desired meat and is very tasty.
If you have never tried goat meat, I suggest you do, it can be found in most specialty meat markets and Mexican meat markets across the country.
Other Resources for Raising Angora Goats
We have put together some essential resources for raising Angora goats. It also helps to reach out to other farmers and Cooperatives for more information.
Some Recommended reading:
Small Goat Farm Operations – PDF
Goat Facts – PDF
Angora Goat Shearing – Link
Goat Breeds – Link
Can Angora goats be raised as milk goats? No, Angora goats are raised for their fiber producing capabilities and do not produce enough milk to raise as milk goats. For milk purposes look into one of the other breeds more suitable for milk production.
Do Angora goats make cashmere? Angora goats make mohair fibers not cashmere. However, breeding an Angora with a Pygmy can create some cashmere fibers but also reduce the quality of the pure mohair.