Angora Rabbits in Michigan
Raising Angora Rabbits For Wool
Angora rabbit wool is high in demand, and considered top drawer
in the fiber production market. Angora rabbits are known for their
docile disposition, and calm nature. They make wonderful pets, and
are gentle with children. However, they are most sought-after for
their plush, and silky coats. It's one of the softest fiber used
for garments in the world.
If raised primarily as a wool producing animal, angora rabbits
are a no-kill livestock, which is very appealing to a lot of would-be
rabbit farmers. That being said, commercial breeders may raise angoras
for meat, fiber, and showing, tripling their investment.
The angora rabbit is thought to have originated in Ankara, Turkey,
although the hard facts remain unclear. What is certain is that
Europe has raised angora rabbits for their fiber for centuries.
The French get the credit for making their wool popular around 1790,
although North America wouldn't see angoras until 1920.
About The Wool
Angora wool can be sold either spun or raw, dyed or in their natural
colors. Angora wool is so fine, that it's often blended with other
fibers such as sheeps wool, mohair, silk, and cashmere at
a 30% ratio. The texture of angora wool alone is so fine that some
spinners prefer a blend to hold the dense stitches of knitting.
Angora fiber, being 7 times warmer than sheeps wool, creates
an extremely warm garment.
Wool is harvested by either plucking or shearing.
Plucking Most angora rabbits have a natural molt
3 - 4 times a year. Breeders can take advantage of this by either
plucking during this time, or plucking every 10-11 weeks. Currently,
in some parts of the country such as California, modern show rabbits
are being bred to hang on to their long coats and may need to be
shorn rather than plucked.
Shearing A breeder can also shear the wool off of
the rabbit with scissors every 10 11 weeks, or any time of
the year, depending on the desired wool length. In the case of the
Giant angora, hand-shearing is the only way to harvest the wool
as the giant doesnt shed naturally.
Roy, Before Shearing During After
Four Angora Rabbit Breeds
- English Angora The English angora weighs 5 to
7 ½ lbs at maturity, and is the smallest of the angora
breeds. Its also the most popular angora for showing because
of its unique face and ear furnishings. This angora
benefits from daily grooming to keep the coat free of mats and
debris, as it has more wool by percentage than guard hair. The
fiber from the English wraps very tightly when spun.
- French Angora These guys weigh 7 ½ to 10
½ lbs, and are the opposite of the English as far as wool/guard
hair ratio. In this case, the guard hairs make up more of the
coat instead of the wool, making the French a better choice for
novice angora owners. A once-a-week grooming is all that is necessary.
The extra guard hair (where most of the color is) also allows
for more intense colors in the fiber. The wool is the undercoat,
and is normally light or white.
- Satin Angora At 6 ½ to 9 ½ lbs,
the satin has a very shiny, crystal like coat. The wool
is dense, and a pleasure to harvest. Spinners also find this fiber
wonderful to work with because its easy to spin.
- Giant Angora The largest of the angora breeds.
The giant weighs in at 10 lbs and up, and are also the highest
fiber producer in the group. This angora breed doesnt shed
out naturally as do the other breeds, so the wool must always
be harvested by hand shearing.
Benefits to Raising Angora Rabbits
- As wool producers, angoras are a no-kill livestock, so go ahead
and get attached.
- There is no true land necessary to raise them.
- Inexpensive to feed.
- Easy and fast to breed.
- Harvesting the wool is relaxing, and pleasurable.
- The rabbits can also be shown, making it a family venture.
- Their temperament makes them great pet candidates.
- The fiber can be sold raw; however, the breeder can also learn
to spin, developing a new hobby.
angora rabbit produces, on average, 15 ounces of wool each year
per adult rabbit (this number doesnt apply to a nursing doe).
Fiber producers typically promote, and market their rabbit wool
for the cottage industry and usually see very nice prices for their
Interested in learning more about angora rabbits? Go to The
National Angora Rabbit Breeders Club. (Text
Please contact us for
more information or to schedule a farm visit.