Prevention of Contamination of Fleeces
Mohair is referred to as the ‘Diamond Fleece’ because of its commercial value and its great beauty. This also refers to its beautiful lustre and this is why it is compared to a diamond. Naturally the buyers of this premium fibre expect a top quality product for the high prices paid. Fleeces allowed to become contaminated with vegetable matter, Bucks urine stain, seeds, duct, etc., have little appeal at auction, whereas a good clean line of fleeces realise their top price. Therefore, we must make every effort to keep our goats out of situations where they become badly soiled, whether this is by the careless feeding out of hay, by allowing the animals to cluster around beneath us when we throw out the hay, or by allowing them to camp in dusty dry areas full of dead leaves, seeds etc.
We have found that even the best hay feeders are not fool proof, when it comes to keeping the hay out of the goat’s Mohair. Angoras have a silly habit of tossing the hay as they pull it from the rack, which either fouls themselves or another standing nearby. To overcome this I now try to have my mobs in another paddock well out of harms way, when I am feeding out hay. I distribute it in small heaps, well separated, in lines across the paddock. When I let the goats back into their hay paddock, they rush up to the line position themselves alongside a heap and begin to feed, too far removed from their nearest neighbour for any hay to be flung onto each others backs. Thus for a little extra effort, I keep my fleeces at least free of hay particles.
Dust, the product of our usual summer droughts in Marlborough, usually fortunately washes out with a good rain, as the Angoras fleece is open and loose, unlike the tightly packed wool on sheep. If your property has a weed seed problem, good management should enable you to have grazed the offending area hard by the goats, thus preventing the seed forming or else the shearing should take place before the seed position develops. I always love to see a good rain on our goats just before shearing is due, but if you are new to Angoras, do make sure your goats have dried out well before shearing commences.
Our warehouses grade mohair but we can make their job easier if we follow a few rules on the board when shearing. Firstly make sure your goats are penned without dirty backsides as they can contaminate many others in the pens and shed stain is not going to return you anything either crutch them the day before or pen them separately.
You can sort stains and any short fibre as it comes off the goat or remove and sort on a table, keep these separately bagged. Pick up fleece and place in a fadge, arranging about 6 fleeces to the layer and place between layers, sheets of newspaper. Pen your goats in age groups and sexes. Mark you bales clearly with your name, customer number (if you have one) address, and a brief description of what is in each bale, ie. Does, Kids, Bucks, etc.