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ANGORA GOAT PRODUCTION

1 Angora goats are an important enterprise for ranch operators in certain areas of Texas, mostly, but also in New Mexico and a few other Western states. Angoras produce income from the sale of mohair and meat. They also are used for biological control of brush and weeds in range improvement programs. Production costs have increased in recent years. This places a heavier burden on the ranch manager for decision making for greater efficiency in production and higher economic returns.
2 Goats require the same major production resources as other species of livestock. These include land, labor, capital and management.
3 Goats often are grazed on forage land less suited for other livestock. They prefer browse, thus are not totally competitive with cattle and sheep for limited land resources. However, goats must convert forage into salable products to justify their presence in most multi-species operations. Since land is a costly resource in ranching operations, goats should recover their share of the costs.
4 The total annual cost of maintaining an Angora goat varies by area and from ranch to ranch. This is influenced by the productivity of the land resource and by the level of management. Annual income per goat also varies for the same reasons.
5 Type of Production
Doe and kid operation should consist of a flock of healthy animals of productive age, three to six years of age. Raise replacements to make improvements in flock. Keep Spanish or meat-type animals separate. Sell all crossbred kids so they do not become mixed in the Angora flock. Replace wether goats for mohair production when the mohair becomes coarse and loses its character. Stock goats at a rate that will insure maximum mohair production with a minimum of supplemental feed.
6 Range Management
Use stocking rates consistant with the area of production. Practice mixed grazing of livestock consistent with the area of production. Practice rotation grazing for pasture improvement and internal parasite control. Follow range improvement practices recommended for the area and consistent with ranch economics. Make use of supplemental grazing when available.
7 Breeding Practices
Flush does by supplying 1/4 to 1/3 lb of supplemental feed daily or move to a fresh, rested pasture about two weeks before turning bucks out. Protein blocks may be used in flushing when range conditions are not too severe. When ranges are extremely dry, it may pay to give does vitamins A, D and E two weeks before breeding.
8 Follow a good selective breeding program. Mate best does to best bucks, second best does to second best bucks, etc. Save replacement does from top two groups. Adaptability to the area of production is probably the most important single point. Good bucks are essential to a good selective breeding program. Purchase bucks from one breeder whose goats possess the desired characteristics to produce a uniform flock. Select animals for quantity and quality of mohair but do not sacrifice size and vigor. Fleeces also should be uniform in quality and length over the body of the goat.
9 Use three to four bucks per 100 does, depending upon the size, brushiness and roughness of the pastures. Avoid using one buck per pasture in commercial goat production. Condition bucks by supplemental feeding about two weeks before turning them out. Breed does in September and October for February and March kids. It is not good management to run does and kids in the same pasture with wether goats. Wether goats travel too much.
10 Supplemental Feeding
Angora goats respond to supplemental feeding more than other livestock. They reflect this through heavier fleece weights. Feed goats during dry periods and especially during the winter months.
11 Feed 1/4 to 1/2 lb of cottonseed cake, 1/2 to 1 lb of yellow corn or 1/2 to 3/4 lb of goat cubes per head daily depending upon the condition of the pastures and the does. Pregnant does require larger amounts of feed than dry animals. Abortion often can be prevented by supplemental feeding.
12 Self-feeding, using salt as an inhibitor, may be used in large, rough or brushy pastures. Keep salt as low as possible and place the feeders 3/4 to 1 mile from water. Move feeders for better pasture utilization. A popular mixture is three parts of ground milo, one part cottonseed meal and one part salt. Salt-controlled feeding is not recommended unless all other methods are impractical.
13 Feed kids during winter months to insure good growth and development. This will improve the kid crop on two-year-old does. Cull undeveloped kids that do not learn to eat. Protein blocks may be fed during kidding season. This method of feeding prevents kids from becoming lost from their mothers.
14 Kidding
Use rested pastures for kidding and do not disturb does during the kidding season. Kid in a small pasture, confine kids and let does out to graze until kids are large enough to follow mothers.
15 Marking
Vaccinate kids for soremouth and earmark for identification when most of the kids are large enough to travel. Plastic ear tabs are a practical way of identification.
16 Castrate kids the following December or January or when the kids are about nine to ten months old. This produces a heavier horn on wether goats that buyers prefer.
17 Shearing
Spring shearing time is January through March depending on the area of production. Goats may be shedded during this period.
18 Goats may be caped. Caping is the practice of leaving a strip of unsheared mohair about eight inches wide down the neck and back of the goat. This should be sheared after a month or six weeks. If capes are not sheared, they should be taken out and packed separately at shearing.
19 Goats may be sheared with special goat combs. These combs leave about 1/4 inch of stubble on the goat and give him about two weeks start over goats sheared with regular combs. Producers usually supply the special combs and pay a small premium for shearers using them.
20 Goats are sensitive to weather changes for a month to six weeks following shearing.
21 Fall shearing runs from July through September. Most producers shear with regular combs in the fall but some prefer the special combs.
22 The responsibilities of the producer are to:
Provide a clean place to shear.
Instruct the shearing crew so they know what is expected.
Separate kids and third shearing goats from older goats so they can be sheared separately.
See that goats are dry and not too full for shearing.
Supervise the shearing pen or provide a supervisor other than himself.
Register complaints with shearing crew captain.
Caution shearing crew about cutting off teats of does.
When mohair contamination (''vegetable matter'') is a severe problem, a change in shearing dates may be advisable.
Do not pack mohair in plastic bags.
23 The responsibilities of the shearer are to:
Keep fleeces clean and remove each fleece in one piece.
Avoid double cutting.
Avoid injury to animals.
24 Spraying
Spray goats out of the shearing pen and again in twelve to eighteen days for best control of external parasites. Follow recommendations in B-1306, Texas Guide for Controlling External Parasites of Livestock and Poultry. Change sprays occasionally to get best control. Spray so goats will dry before dark. Use only recommended sprays or dips in strengths advocated by the Food and Drug Administration. Follow guidelines for spraying or dipping animals to go to slaughter. Do not spray under a shed or barn. Spray with the wind, not against it. Do not mix solutions with your hands. Spray or dip animals at a time of day when you will be able to bathe and change clothes. Do not mix chemicals.
25 Drenching
Watch animals closely for signs of internal parasitism and drench as necessary. Drench out of the shearing pen using one of the recognized drenches. Change drenches occasionally so that parasites do not build up resistance to any specific drench. Move animals to a fresh pasture following drenching. Phenothiazine salt is not recommended for goats because it stains the mohair. Use care in drenching animals so that the linings of the mouth and throat are not injured.
26 Weaning Kids
Leave kids in the pasture and move does. Kids are familiar with the pasture and know where to water and rest. Wean in the drylot. This practice gentles kids, teaches them to eat and builds up their strength. Do not wean in an overgrazed, internal parasite-infested pasture. When weaning in a different pasture, move kids to a rested pasture along with a few gentle does who can lead them to water.
27 Marketing
Some producers sell kids out of the hair after first shearing. Most producers prefer to market as yearlings after the second shearing. Sell through a reputable commission man or through an auction that specializes in handling goats. Market mohair through one of the recognized wool and mohair warehouses. Select one that provides service to meet your requirements. If the bulk of your clip is finer than 24s, it may pay to have your clip graded. Follow the recommendations of your warehouseman in preparing and marketing your mohair. Do not artificially oil goats.
28 Defect Control
Rearrange shearing dates so that a minimum of plant matter is in the fleece. Use supplemental pastures to avoid vegetable contamination. Provide for control of burr-producing plants in your pasture improvement program.
29 Records
Keep accurate records of percentage of kid crop, fleece weight by age group and staple length to assist with the breeding program. Keep records of costs and returns to aid with income tax returns and planning business program of the ranch.