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Angora Harvesting

March 14, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome time ago we added a handful of Angora rabbits to the place, and it’s a rabbit that can be demanding in many ways. The soft angora fiber is akin to an undercoat.

As most animals in spring, those with a heavy coat already that ‘blow’ it means it’s time to comb it out (harvest) before it gets matted and tangled too much to use.

Many love the beauty of an angora but don’t realize the time. It’s easy to look at angora fiber at $6-8 per ounce and see dollar signs of all the money you can make. Like most things, it’s not quite that easy.

The coat must be maintained – read combed – regularly. Keeping mats from forming in the coat,as well as feet, face, belly and every inch growing wool is critical not only for the best wool but, more importantly, for animal comfort. Horror stories are told from people who get overwhelmed and the animals get matted too much to live comfortably. Any piece of shavings, hay, oat hulls, etc can become an issue. In summer, mats lead to moisture which can lead to fly strike which leads to, often, dead rabbits. With these, care must be taken because the wool on the sides of the face rubs on the feeders just in daily living and can cause problems.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen the coat is ready to harvest it starts shedding (at least with my girls!) and is a soft, dense undercoat that is stripped out (combing!) with time. In about a half hour, Muffin (above) is sporting a two tone look, with the guard hairs remaining on her back and the angora wool removed. Peaches (left) is a heavier producer…she’ll be nearly bald where it slips away and seems relieved! The color isn’t as vivid in the fiber removed – still distinctive in the tan or grey, but not as bright as the surface color appears in the photos. Peaches has in the past produced about 8 ounces of fiber – for the size animal that’s quite a bit!

We’re working on a video of the actual combing – Connor’s running camera so he’s learning too! Watch for it on our Facebook page or Twitter. Yes we’ll have angora fiber for sale.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen you see a sweater or other item marked “angora” that is from rabbits. There are angora goats too, but the fiber is called ‘mohair’ to distinguish from the rabbit fiber.

Both make beautiful items in the hands of talented crafts people!

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