Starting With Fiber Rabbits?

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Izroion

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I may be acquiring a harliquin english angora soon and while I have meat rabbits, fiber ones are very different. I'd like to sell most of the fiber, but I'd like to use it for myself eventually too. I know I need a carder and a spinning wheel? I'm pretty familer with the actual care and grooming but at a complete loss for actual spinning information and such.
 

bighairbuns

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Personally, I wouldn't invest in a spinning wheel or carders unless you know that it is a hobby you will be into. They are spendy.

You can get into spinning with a drop spindle and see if it is for you first and only be out $20. Angora wool actually does not need to be carded in order to spin, you can spin straight from the cloud (or the bun actually!) So no need to get carders right away unless you plan to make your own blends right off the bat, and if you do want to experiment with that, you can get away with using dog slicker brushes for a bit while learning.
 

Lewis

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I am doing the same thing! Facebook market place is a great place to start for spinning wheels. If you’d like to try one out shop around stores. For me I just jumped right in because with Covid I couldn’t really try anything out. Does the breeder have any insight on spinning?
 

Izroion

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I am doing the same thing! Facebook market place is a great place to start for spinning wheels. If you’d like to try one out shop around stores. For me I just jumped right in because with Covid I couldn’t really try anything out. Does the breeder have any insight on spinning?
As far as I know she dosent spin their fiber. She does mostly mini lops, which was how I found her. I could ask her to be sure though!
 

Izroion

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Personally, I wouldn't invest in a spinning wheel or carders unless you know that it is a hobby you will be into. They are spendy.

You can get into spinning with a drop spindle and see if it is for you first and only be out $20. Angora wool actually does not need to be carded in order to spin, you can spin straight from the cloud (or the bun actually!) So no need to get carders right away unless you plan to make your own blends right off the bat, and if you do want to experiment with that, you can get away with using dog slicker brushes for a bit while learning.
That's super helpful! Thank you! I was slightly dreading the cost of equipment to start but a slicker brush and drop spindle are very doable.
 

Izroion

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While I'm thinking about it, do you think $150 is reasonable for an EA buck? His pedigree is included. I'm not sure if I should try a different breeder or if I just have unrealistic price expectations from my cheap meat mutts lmao
 

Lewis

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I bought a REW for that but no pedigree for that price. I didn’t think to ask for his pedigree papers but he does have his tattoo in his ear. Her buns have low maintenance fiber and show quality. She also offered to mentor me in care for my bun and spinning so the price was worth it for me. If I have any health questions she is really responsive and has helped me looking at spinning wheels- she offered me to use hers and to show me how. She told me how when she began with English Angora she got two who didn’t have great genes as they would mat no matter what she did. I am really happy with my bun so far (it’s only been a month and his hair is growing like crazy)! She really cares for bunnies and wants the best for them! When I first brought him home he had wool in his stool and then bladder sludge and I immediately freaked out and the breeder guided me in taking care of him. Breeder also would replace him if anything happened to him.
 
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bighairbuns

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While I'm thinking about it, do you think $150 is reasonable for an EA buck? His pedigree is included. I'm not sure if I should try a different breeder or if I just have unrealistic price expectations from my cheap meat mutts lmao

The breeders in my area tend to advertise them in the $100 - $250 range with some nicer pedigreed/show quality rabbits running higher than that. This is in the rust belt/great lakes region.

However, I frequently see them go at auction for under $50, and have found that fiber people tend to let their buns go cheaper than show rabbit or pet rabbit people.
 

SixGun

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Hello all. As a spinner and angora raiser it is wonderful to see others looking to add this most addictive of hobbies to their life.
I'd be happy to help if you have any questions. I teach spinning often, and I completely agree with starting with a drop spindle. Spinning with a wheel is simply a more automated process of spinning using a spindle and the entire process of creating yarn, at basis, is the same. A wheel, unless you find a good used deal will cost you $600-$1200. You really need to be sure you want to do this. It is a time commitment, and like rabbits, you fall down that fiber hole.

Angora fiber is typically spun from the cloud. Carding is nice for rolags at times, if you have some fiber that is less than prime, but not necessary.

English Angora tend to be pricier than other Angora. I raise English, Satin and French. I sell my English for the most, but they are more delicate and have greater wool producing qualities, plus I have the only English for a few hundred miles. Some of my cost is to ensure a good and dedicated home. An angora in poor conditions can be put through a great deal of suffering.

A pedigree is nice, but unless you're going to show or breed, quite meaningless. With a harlequin colored rabbit it's not been bred for show, so hopefully the intention has been at least fiber quality. Often with harlequin it's more about the color and cuteness. And if your breeder is not a spinner and does not show, I would question how they assess fiber.

I personally don't care for the term low maintenance in angora. There's nothing low maintenance to them. Guard hair is one way to create a lower maintenance rabbit, and only in French is that really ok, and to some degree in Satin. Not in English. Often times low maintenance can be lack of density. Density means volume of wool production, and I strive to produce as much wool as possible.

I'm opinionated, but after 30 years in rabbits and almost 15 in angora I feel it's justified.
 

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hotzcatz

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To mat or not to mat, that's one of the characteristics used to choose who gets bred around here. Some are more mat prone and they don't get bred. I've noticed a lot of the really dense coats are a lot harder to harvest, too. The clippers don't work on a really dense coat and it can take several hours to get all the fluff off the bun using scissors. A more open coat, while it provides less fiber, is a lot faster to harvest since the majority of it can be clippered. Seems to grow faster, too. But YMMV.

Another major choosing point - other than if it mats or not, is the texture of the coat. A smooth silky texture is preferred over a larger quantity of less silky but denser coat. Ideally, would be an easy to harvest really dense coat that was silky in texture that doesn't mat, although we haven't gotten there yet.

Yup, like Sixgun said, frequently angora is spun from the cloud. I just put the bunny floof in a big jar and when it's time to spin, just grab it out of the jar. Seems to work pretty good with zero prep. But, I'll spin raw sheep's wool, too, so maybe I'm just a lazy spinner.
 

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