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Mohair or No Hair

In Wisconsin summers the right answer is No Mohair. Especially not tangled and matted locks that trap in heat. That’s why we angora goats got our shearing as soon as we came to ThistleDew farm. When Ann first brought us home we were a bit miserable. The women who took care of us at our last farm didn’t have the equipment or the physical strength to shear us themselves, and it’s very hard to get a shearer to come to a farm with a very small flock. The shearer they usually used just didn’t show up this spring, so our fleece was super shaggy. So we weren’t as fresh as we'd like to be, especially in the nether regions. Some of us were more popular with the flies than we’d care to admit (not saying any names, but they were of the male persuasion).

In the picture below, I'm the one on the right, before I had my fleece off. My sister Pansy is on the left - she is older than me so she got sheared first. Like all goat breeds, both does and bucks have horns. Most people feel that horns help to regulate body temperature so angora goats traditionally keep their horns. We are always very gentle with our humans, so they like the horns too.

You may wonder why we are called angora goats and yet our fleece is called mohair. It’s because the fur from angora rabbits is called angora, so that was already taken. The name Angora comes from the capital city of Turkey, now called Ankora, so it’s the region we’re named after, not the fur. Angora goats have been an important commodity for over 3000 years, with goats being kept in a family’s home for protection from thieves and the elements. Personally, I think we should always be kept in the house, and I don’t understand why we have to stay out here in the field. Most valuable were the pure white angoras like me, Poppy, because our fleeces can be dyed bright colors.

Naturally colored angoras, like my young friends Pink and Floyd, shown above with Scroggin, became recently popular in the US because of their beautiful natural colors that need no dye. There can sometimes be disagreements between angora goat farmers as to whether colored angoras should be encouraged. For many centuries pure white was favored, but that’s just people being ridiculous about unimportant distinctions and we goats just ignore them. Someday humans will evolve too (we hope)!

--- Poppy

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