Angora Goat Husbandry

Australian Heritage Angoras are a delight to own and breed.

Their size makes them easy to handle.  For someone with limited space, goats are a viable option to sheep.  Goats are very intelligent.  Rather than herding our goats, we find they respond better to being led.  They are quick to learn routines; adding to their manageability.

Kayo – our first buck

They are not aggressive like some goat breeds.  Even our bucks are very friendly. We use compressed lucerne cubes as lollies to entice them to come to us and to reward them after they have been drenched etc. or had veterinary treatment.  They remember this reward and look for it. This way they remember something nice rather than something not so nice.

Good fencing is required, with this escapees are rare.  Well tensioned, ringlock fencing is most suitable.  All goats appreciate shelter from the wind and rain and when it is hot, the sun, so a shed or some other structure will help keep both the goats and their mohair healthy. Shade trees in paddocks are valuable.

Australian Heritage Angoras do not grow mohair on their faces, so generally they don’t need to be ‘wigged’ (mohair removed from their faces so they can see where they are going) between shearings.  They also don’t need to be ‘crutched’.  The main maintenance task is trimming their hoofs if they are not kept on rocky ground.

Shearing is done twice a year.  We usually shear in April and November.  They do need to not be exposed to the weather if there is a very cold snap just after shearing.  We have sheds and shelters they can use.

Topsy – a grey doe

Most Angora goats are white. This is what the large processors want.  In Australia, particularly, there are  few coloured angoras.  We started with 2 mature does and one young buck that have some grey in their fleece.  Our 2012 kidding gave us 3 more grey does, 1 black doe and 3 grey bucks.  In 2014 we had 2 does and 3 bucks.  We also have a black doe brought back from Cowra), although she is getting a bit silvery in colour (still quite dark).  So our coloured numbers are increasing.  While we have had a couple of kids born with a red/brown area of fleece, this soon disappeared.

They are reasonably resistant to foot scald. However, in winter 2012  (after 2 years of rain or drizzle every second day) some of our goats finally became infected in the cleft of their hooves.  We use Iodine spray and Chloromide spray for treatment.  Other methods are to bath the hooves in zinc sulphate or copper sulphate.  A very, very small amount of copper sulphate powder can help their resistance.  We are currently using zinmet and have noticed a reduction in scald occurence.

Australian Heritage Angoras have not been bred for characteristics other than the quality of their mohair.  As a result they usually kid easily.  Twins are the norm, but young does often have only one kid. Some does have triplets.  Bucks and Does come into season in Autumn and kids are born in late Winter/Spring.  Gestation is five months.

A little bigger please

New born kids need to be kept warm.  This can be as simple as a bucket of hot water to sleep on.  We also use hot water bottles with soft covers under the hay.

We use electric mesh fencing and guard alpacas to protect kids from foxes.

AHA goats are a great all round small property animal.

These delightful goats are very inquisitive – always on the look out for what you are doing.

On a small lifestyle property, Australian Heritage Angoras can assist with weed control, provide mohair for use in handicrafts and gentle, pelletised manure.  This can be used to add nutrients and organic matter to the soil and improve soil fertility.  We use mobile goat sheds and electric fences to strip graze our goats in our orchards.  Due to their size, goats are less likely to ‘pug’ wet paddocks.  They are also do well in dry conditions provided they have fresh drinking water.