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Is all wool created equal?

Keeping rabbits for their wool and methods of using it.
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Is all wool created equal?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby GBov » Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:05 am


I have been looking at adds for Angora wool/fiber and have noticed a few sellers saying their fiber is better than all the rest - and ESPECIALLY better than shorn fiber - because it was plucked and comes from the sides and back of the rabbit.

So it got me wondering, is plucked better? Or no different than shorn, fiber?

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Re: Is all wool created equal?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby SixGun » Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:30 pm


Some spinners prefer plucked fiber over shorn because of the way it holds together. Plucked fiber is the whole hair shaft and has a textured end because of it versus a shorn fiber that has a cut end.
Side and back fiber tends to be the longest, least stained or otherwise effected by day to day rabbit life.

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Re: Is all wool created equal?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby GBov » Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:54 pm


SixGun wrote:Some spinners prefer plucked fiber over shorn because of the way it holds together. Plucked fiber is the whole hair shaft and has a textured end because of it versus a shorn fiber that has a cut end.
Side and back fiber tends to be the longest, least stained or otherwise effected by day to day rabbit life.


Ah, thank you very much, that makes it all much clearer. :D

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Re: Is all wool created equal?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Preitler » Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:25 pm


Uhm, pardon me, that may be a stupid question, but how is that fiber plucked?

I don't know much about Angoras, but there's that video of chinese workers plucking fur off screaming rabbits, well, there must be better ways to do that, right?
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Re: Is all wool created equal?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby MaggieJ » Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:02 pm


As I understand it, the wool is easy to pluck when the rabbit is moulting. Please don't think the way it's done in those videos is the way most western rabbit owners treat their rabbits. I remember reading about an angora breeder who could spin as she plucked, with the rabbit sitting happily in her lap.

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Re: Is all wool created equal?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Zass » Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:58 pm


I've read at least one article written by a person who took the time to visit some Chinese angora raisers.

What they found in most rabbitries, was that the rabbits were viewed as an important source of income.
Steps were taken to avoid unnecessary stress, or damage to the rabbits, in order to avoid losing productive adult stock, as they would mean having to grow out replacements.

I can't help but wonder how many angora torment videos PETA paid for.

Plucking is literally the same process as removing clumps of already lose fur, as one might from a longer haired dog or cat. I've read that it can be better for spinning, as it doesn't contain any shorter hairs or the blunt ends that you get with shaving.

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Re: Is all wool created equal?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby MaggieJ » Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:58 pm


Zass wrote: I can't help but wonder how many angora torment videos PETA paid for.


Good point, Zass.

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Re: Is all wool created equal?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby KenoshaRabbits » Wed Nov 02, 2016 12:39 am


Preitler wrote:Uhm, pardon me, that may be a stupid question, but how is that fiber plucked?

I don't know much about Angoras, but there's that video of chinese workers plucking fur off screaming rabbits, well, there must be better ways to do that, right?


That video is very misleading. Those people were plucking rabbits which should have be shorn.

Some Angora breeds you can brush out their coat or pluck their fur when the time comes to harvest. Other Angora breeds don't release their coats that way and they need to be sheared to havest the wool.

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Re: Is all wool created equal?

Post Number:#9  Unread postby GBov » Wed Nov 02, 2016 7:08 am


I had an angora rabbit that would molt and her fur came off in handfuls, I was just wondering if it made any difference where or how it was harvested from z bunny that effected the marketability of the fiber.

So is it better to have a molting strain of Angora or one that you shear?

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Re: Is all wool created equal?

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Random Rabbit » Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:39 pm


GBov wrote:
So is it better to have a molting strain of Angora or one that you shear?



There are advantages to Both choices.
Shearing... You can get the coat off in one swoop. Shear and done.
Plucking... You can only Take what is already loose The rabbit will need to be gone over several times over several days, to get the entire coat .
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Re: Is all wool created equal?

Post Number:#11  Unread postby GBov » Sat Nov 05, 2016 9:02 am


As it doesnt seem to effect the price of the fiber on line, I think the shear and be done bunnies will suit me best.

All my senior Rex blew their coats at the same time once, it was a nightmare keeping them groomed for the two weeks it took them to get finished. Spending grooming time during peak mosquito time of day is no fun at all! A true blood sacrifice for several bags of not very useful fur was given. The rabbits and mosquitoes enjoyed it but I sure didnt! :lol:

At least when we start up with Angoras we will be away from the Mosquito Coast! 8-)

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Re: Is all wool created equal?

Post Number:#12  Unread postby Catherine99 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:51 am


I am new to English Angoras. Our baby is currently molting it baby coat. It just sits on my knee and allows me to remove the coat. He has some felts which I am cutting out.

Our breeder told as that most molt about every three months. The baby molt is the most difficult.

Also wool from rabbits under 6 months is unsuitable for spinning but can be used felting and other wool crafts.

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Re: Is all wool created equal?

Post Number:#13  Unread postby a7736100 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:07 pm


Is it all breeding or can environmental factors result in longer and softer wool?

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Re: Is all wool created equal?

Post Number:#14  Unread postby SixGun » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:43 pm


Catherine99 wrote:
Also wool from rabbits under 6 months is unsuitable for spinning but can be used felting and other wool crafts.


Junior wool may not be prime, but it is definitely spinnable.


a7736100 wrote:Is it all breeding or can environmental factors result in longer and softer wool?


Environmental factors (grooming style, diet - BIG TIME, and even weather) will definitely change wool.

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Re: Is all wool created equal?

Post Number:#15  Unread postby hotzcatz » Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:40 pm


There's differences between plucked and shorn although I'd suspect the major difference in angora fiber is the breed of angora it comes from. They're just like sheep in that each breed has different wool characteristics. You'd not make a rug from Merino sheep's wool and you'd not make a sweater from Karakul sheep's wool.

Most of the commercial angora comes from the larger breeds of angora - Germans & Giants although there is probably a separate Chinese angora by now. They are the major angora fiber producers and they use the big white angoras. (Oh, that PETA video is total BS. If the rabbits were treated like that they'd not regrow the wool and the farmer would be out of business within a year. But don't let logic into the picture when you can react with emotions instead.)

China is the major producer of angora fiber, followed by France and France has a feed that is fed to their bunnies that has the rabbit molting to the point to where the wool can be easily brushed off the rabbit with almost like a petting motion. So far I've not found a source for that feed in the United States.

The big white angoras produce a lot more fiber, but it's not as soft as the fiber from the smaller breeds. It's soft and all, but not as soft as some of the others. I'm not sure what the differences are in fiber quality between the Giants, Germans & Chinese angoras. The English angora is supposed to have the softest wool, but they only produce about a pound of it per year. The Satin angoras have the silky shiny translucent fiber but they produce even less wool per year than the English do. Not sure how much fiber the French produces per year, but they get the crazy halo with their wool which makes for outrageous finished goods.

Are English angoras the only ones who will molt? And not even all of them will molt since the non-molting gene has been bred into some of the show lines of English angoras. The rabbits here are English angoras and one of them just molted down to just about bare naked on her second coat. Hopefully she will have a few litters soon so we can have more of them that molt that easily.

If you want prime fiber to sell, then fiber that is plucked off the bunny and then laid down in rows between layers of tissue paper should command the highest prices. Too much work for me, though, I just put it in a big glass jar until it's either sent to the mill or spun here into yarn.

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