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Angoras as a commercial venture

Keeping rabbits for their wool and methods of using it.
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Angoras as a commercial venture

Post Number:#1  Unread postby bryer rabbit » Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:11 am


Hello all! My name is Barry and my wife and I are small organic veggie farmers in the smoky mountains. We are looking into raising angora for wool as a source of farm income. Looking to maybe keep 50 rabbits total. I stumbled across Angoras while researching meat rabbits. Alas I am kind of a softy and couldn't bring myself to send a 1000 bunnies to slaughter every year. I have some questions if y'all could help.
1. Is there much demand for pure angora yarn or would it be better to blend with something like merino?
2. How difficult is it to spin pure angora into yarn?
3. What weights of yarn are popular for angora?
4. Anyone in the angora business have any tips or wisdom to share?

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Re: Angoras as a commercial venture

Post Number:#2  Unread postby SixGun » Sun Aug 28, 2016 4:11 pm


Hi Barry,
I can't answer all of your questions, but I can offer a bit of insight.
I've raised a few English Angora. I am actually looking to get back into them. And saying that, I plan on getting three, because I think thats about the limit that I can raise and keep groomed while I manage all the other things in my life. I'm not saying that they are extremely labor intensive, but, they do require some grooming, brushing or blowing out, on a routine basis.
Also, and perhaps others can help, but I've never been able to figure out a good meat / fiber system for Angoras. To keep the best fiber, you want them to be 6 months old or more, but, you wouldn't want to grow out every kit to that age just to gather the fiber and then send them to market. Even if you butchered yourself, which I do with my meat rabbits, the food to meat ratio just couldn't be that great, when you're not taking them as fryers, but growing them out to the more European roaster range. I suppose you could be butchering at fryer weight, but then to lose all that potential amazing fiber. Like I said, I can't puzzle it out but would love for someone to correct me because I know people say the Angora can be used as a meat rabbit.
As far as spinning: I've seen quite a few pure Angora products, and you can most definitely sell the fiber direct without blending it. I prefer a blend with sheep's wool though for hardiness and retention of shape. I don't find it any more difficult to spin, necessarily, blend or pure. When I'm having trouble with a fiber, its usually for some other reason.
I'll stay tuned to this thread, I'm hoping to read some from others.

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Re: Angoras as a commercial venture

Post Number:#3  Unread postby KenoshaRabbits » Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:59 am


bryer rabbit wrote:Hello all! My name is Barry and my wife and I are small organic veggie farmers in the smoky mountains. We are looking into raising angora for wool as a source of farm income. Looking to maybe keep 50 rabbits total. I stumbled across Angoras while researching meat rabbits. Alas I am kind of a softy and couldn't bring myself to send a 1000 bunnies to slaughter every year. I have some questions if y'all could help.
1. Is there much demand for pure angora yarn or would it be better to blend with something like merino?
2. How difficult is it to spin pure angora into yarn?
3. What weights of yarn are popular for angora?
4. Anyone in the angora business have any tips or wisdom to share?


Hey Barry, welcome to the site.

Here is some info/advice for you. Before I get to your specific questions here is some general advice. Start small, start small, start small. It is better to start with a few rabbits, maybe 1-5, and scale up to your maximum production (which probably would be way less than 50 rabbits) than it is to get 50 rabbits off the bat (I don't know if its even possible to get that many or even 10+ right away). Angoras are a lot of work and a heard of 50 would be a full time job for one person, maybe even two people. A fiber operation is way different than a meat operation. Read as many posts as you can on the site, even the ones that don't seem that relevant right away, you'll probably find the answer to a problem you weren't even expecting.
As for caring for angoras, in addition to the normal feeding, cleaning, health checks you now have grooming to worry about. You'll need to groom every so often so the rabbits do not get mats in their fur. You'll spend 5-20 minutes per rabbit grooming, depending on your equipment, skill level, how often you groom, etc. Depending on the breed and how often you harvest; you will get 16+ oz of wool per year. Most likely you'll harvest 4 times a year and get 4-5 oz per harvest.
The different breeds require different techniques for harvesting. Some you have to shear, some you can "pluck the wool" off the rabbit (or shear).
If you're looking for an extra revenue stream for your farm you might be looking in the wrong place. It is possible to turn a profit selling angora wool (and the rabbits themselves to people looking to raise angoras) however the margins are thin and you need to be quite on top of things. Personally, I find that the fiber aspect "defrays the cost of rabbit ownership" rather than provides an income.


1) There is always a demand for angora fiber. If you start small you can better gauge how much of a market you are able to address. You can sell locally, you can sell online through your own website, you can sell on sites like Etsy. Last time I checked (maybe a month or so ago) the average price was around $7-9 per oz for the unspun wool. Some charge more, some less.
You have the option to spin the yarn yourself, that will raise the price. You can keep it pure or blend it with most types of wool. While there is a market for spun wool, some customers like the raw stuff: to spin their own wool, dye the wool a specific color, perhaps due to allergies they can't blend with wool and want 100% angora (which is the particular issue for the person who gets my wool).
So you have multiple options on what you can actually sell.

2) There is more effort required to spin pure angora into yarn than to blend it. I don't spin so I can't say from first hand experience; but I've read a lot on the subject. I've read it is easier to spin a blend of sheep's wool and angora wool than pure angora, something to do with the physical properties of the angora wool itself. However it is not impossible and once you learn "the right touch" to spinning pure angora yarn you pretty much have the skill set.

Welcome and best of luck!

__________ Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:59 am __________

SixGun wrote:Also, and perhaps others can help, but I've never been able to figure out a good meat / fiber system for Angoras. To keep the best fiber, you want them to be 6 months old or more, but, you wouldn't want to grow out every kit to that age just to gather the fiber and then send them to market. Even if you butchered yourself, which I do with my meat rabbits, the food to meat ratio just couldn't be that great, when you're not taking them as fryers, but growing them out to the more European roaster range. I suppose you could be butchering at fryer weight, but then to lose all that potential amazing fiber. Like I said, I can't puzzle it out but would love for someone to correct me because I know people say the Angora can be used as a meat rabbit.


Hey SixGuns just thought I'd chime in. There really isn't a good meat/fiber system out there. It pretty much is one or the other. A fiber rabbit's wool tends to be worth more than the meat itself, especially over the lifetime of the rabbit. The meat/fiber system that kind works is to have the wool operation and breed the rabbits for sale as well. Any kits that aren't sold, aren't worth keeping, and aren't replacements for your current stock get processed. It isn't so much a meat operation, more of a meat is a potential result from your wool operation.

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Re: Angoras as a commercial venture

Post Number:#4  Unread postby bryer rabbit » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:11 pm


To clarify my vision for this operation.
We would have one of us full time with the rabbits and the other part time. We would definitely be spinning yarn to get a little higher price but also sell undyed and raw wool. Our primary sales outlet would be an internet website or etsy. I'm gonna stay away from the meat side. I was thinking of starting with maybe 6 does and a buck and growing my herd through breeding as we are ready. I'm hoping to produce 50,000 grams of fiber a year. Not sure if that is realistic but I've heard that giant angora produce around 1000 grams per year.
Loving the feedback and encouragement

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Re: Angoras as a commercial venture

Post Number:#5  Unread postby MaggieJ » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:30 pm


Hi Barry. :hi:

Wish you well with this venture, but I am wondering if you have any experience with raising rabbits. It sounds simple -- and it is when all goes well -- but there can also be a pretty steep learning curve.

I really think starting with a trio or perhaps three does and a buck would give you a better basis of experience than jumping in with more. If you have prior experience, that's great! But Angoras are probably the most challenging of rabbit breeds.

When spinning the wool, please consider that 100% Angora would make a garment such as a sweater too hot to tolerate. It might be okay for mitts, toques and scarves for outdoor wear in winter, however. I once had a pullover that was an Angora/silk blend and although it was quite lightweight compared to sheep's wool, it was very warm.

Starting small will help minimize your start-up costs and you can always stockpile wool until you have a sufficient quantity to sell. Just a thought . . . and I freely admit my only experience with Angora wool was with a few meat-mutt throwbacks that were dead ringers for French Angoras. Even with only a few, I couldn't manage the necessary grooming and I sent them to freezer camp before their first year was up.

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Re: Angoras as a commercial venture

Post Number:#6  Unread postby KenoshaRabbits » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:58 pm


bryer rabbit wrote:To clarify my vision for this operation.
We would have one of us full time with the rabbits and the other part time. We would definitely be spinning yarn to get a little higher price but also sell undyed and raw wool. Our primary sales outlet would be an internet website or etsy. I'm gonna stay away from the meat side. I was thinking of starting with maybe 6 does and a buck and growing my herd through breeding as we are ready. I'm hoping to produce 50,000 grams of fiber a year. Not sure if that is realistic but I've heard that giant angora produce around 1000 grams per year.
Loving the feedback and encouragement


Always good to have more info on what you envision.
If I may recommend a website, http://www.iagarb.com is nice. It is geared towards German Angoras which are similar to giant angoras.

A kilo is around average for a giant angora, your mileage may vary. Keep in mind that the giant angora is a larger rabbit and thus the overhead for maintaining the rabbit increases (more food, larger cages, takes longer to mature, etc.) Read up on the various breeds, I've heard some people prefer the English Angora and consider the English to be a better wool producer. I have French Angoras so I can only speak broadly on the subject.

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Re: Angoras as a commercial venture

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Zass » Mon Aug 29, 2016 5:28 pm


Even staying away from specifically raising for meat, there will be a need to butcher some animals.
I strongly suggest staying away from rabbits in general if you feel you could not handle culling.

There are some very common rabbit maladies and incurable diseases that are best handled by euthanasia, else they may lead to a lifetime of suffering or being contagious to other animals.
It's also a good idea to be ready to harvest any kits born with inferior genetics, any animal being non productive, adults past their prime production age, any animal with health or personality problems that may make them a liability in the rabbitry.

It would be unfair to sell such animals, even if there was a strong market in your area. It's really best to sell only the healthiest and best kits (out of the ones you aren't going to keep,) to make sure that the genetics that are leaving your operation are also he best for the breed.

Well, think of rabbits this way, 50 angora rabbits is more work than most experienced breeders would even consider tacking, but, it's only 5 good litters of kits. It's a huge advantage to have so many kits (such variety of genetics) to chose from, but, only if you can handle culling anything that would drive down your profit margins and lower efficiency. Otherwise, you could end up spending more money nurturing inefficient animals than you'd be making in profit.

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Re: Angoras as a commercial venture

Post Number:#8  Unread postby SixGun » Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:42 pm


KenoshaRabbits wrote:
Hey SixGuns just thought I'd chime in. There really isn't a good meat/fiber system out there. It pretty much is one or the other. A fiber rabbit's wool tends to be worth more than the meat itself, especially over the lifetime of the rabbit. The meat/fiber system that kind works is to have the wool operation and breed the rabbits for sale as well. Any kits that aren't sold, aren't worth keeping, and aren't replacements for your current stock get processed. It isn't so much a meat operation, more of a meat is a potential result from your wool operation.



Thank you Kenosha. I knew it!! I'd call an Angora a fiber rabbit, and the culls would make a good pet, or soup.

I'm from north of Kenosha originally. I hope you enjoy the area.

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Re: Angoras as a commercial venture

Post Number:#9  Unread postby GBov » Wed Oct 12, 2016 12:15 pm


My ONE French Angora doe was the worst mother I have EVER had, even with years of experience I only got 4 live healthy kits out of her in over 2 years of trying. And the one remaining doe from that litter is the hardest to get bred of any rabbit I ever produced. She has to live WITH a buck for about 3 months before she will give a litter but at least she is a good mother, once that point is reached. When she went with the rest to a lovely young lady I made sure to tell her all about her. She was only kept as an attempt to breed huge feet onto my Rex who had such dainty little feet but I didnt manage to do it, just made lots of interesting hides and scrummy meat.

The other thing was I could never keep the FA coated rabbits groomed. They would felt up into huge mats right after I spent days getting them soft and fluffy. But I think that was a breeding issue as I have read truly good FAs dont do that.

I do plan to get a trio after we move but only a trio to start.

Always remember, Talk, really TALK! to the breeders BEFORE you purchase to find out how much maintenance your chosen bloodlines need, how easy they are to get bred and their mothering skills.

And while rabbit is good in soup, it is MUCH better cooked other ways. Fried like chicken is a firm favorite here! :P

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Re: Angoras as a commercial venture

Post Number:#10  Unread postby hotzcatz » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:45 pm


There's more demand for angora rabbits as a fiber producer than as a meat bunny, at least, around here. Almost any live angora will sell for $50 or more, whereas a meat bunny as old and tough as they'd be by the time they got big enough to harvest, might be $20 but more likely less. IMHO, it's much quicker and easier to sell them live. Plus, then I can buy two lobsters, which I'd rather eat, anyway.

The most angoras I've ever had has been 55 and that was just until the young ones grew up enough to sell them. Currently, we have about 17 adult English angoras, I'm planning to up the herd size to about 30, maybe 36, but probably no more than that. It does get quicker to give bunnies haircuts with practice, but it can still take about an hour per bunny to get all the fiber off them, trim the toenails, check for mites and finish entirely grooming them. This happens about three or four times per year per bunny so the hours do add up. And that's just to get the fiber, not to process it into yarn. Fortunately, after removing the fiber they don't really need any further grooming for several months. If the herd is groomed at staggered times, then you only have to maintain the coats on the few that are about ready for harvest while the harvested ones are good with just hanging around growing more wool and don't need any direct maintenance.

As for the fiber, I buy English angora fiber at $5 per ounce and there's several folks who have a pet angora bunnies who harvest and sell the fiber to me. One of them has three angoras and she's always thrilled to get a check for bunny fluff. She will bring me about three quarters of a pound or more per shearing, so for her it's useful money. Some folks just bring in a few ounces so they hardly get enough for a lunch at a sit down restaurant.

Each breed of angora has a different type of fiber, we have the English because they are the softest and they don't directly compete against the commercial angora. That's similar to German/Giant fiber, I think.

As for the type of yarn to make with it, folks seem to like fingering or sport. Two ply or maybe as many as three, but angora can't do single ply. Pure angora yarn has no stretch or 'memory' to it. It won't make good socks because they'd just stretch out. Usually it's mixed with other fibers to give the final yarn better characteristics such as stretch. Ask your local yarn shop if they'd like to carry your yarn, I've had very little success in selling the angora yarn online. When folks see it online, it doesn't look like much but when they feel it, they don't want to let go.

Since this thread was started in 2016, have you gotten started with rabbits yet?

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