What's the difference between the different types of angora rabbit? - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 01/12/07, 08:14 AM
 
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What's the difference between the different types of angora rabbit?

I like the idea of having a few fiber animals around, so am thinking of getting a few Angoras... could someone tell me the differences between the different types of Angora? Is one better for spinning than the others? Size difference?
Thank you!

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  #2  
Old 01/12/07, 09:01 AM
 
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narbc.org

You might find some information at:

National Angora Rabbit Breeders Club

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  #3  
Old 01/12/07, 12:00 PM
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Yup, yup...good link.

Believe it or not, there's five Angora breeds: the English, French, Satin, Giant, and German. The first four are bred for both wool and exhibition and are recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (www.arba.net). German Angoras are recognized under the International Association of German Angora Rabbit Breeders (http://www.iagarb.org/) and are bred almost strictly for wool production.

I have English Angoras, a French, and a German-cross. (Long story, but I knew I wanted Angoras and I couldn't decide between the three breeds...so hopefully this will make the final decision a little easier.)

I like English Angoras becuase they're small (5-7 pounds), they come in a variety of colors, and they're really cute. They're almost completely covered with wool, even down to the soles of their feet. The only place they don't have wool is the lower face!
They're surprisingly good woolers for their size, producing roughly the same amount as larger bunns. Mine have wonderful dispositions: Willie my buck is as friendly as a puppy. They're one of the oldest breeds in existence...like 300 years old or something. The problem is GROOMING. It takes me like 90 minutes to 2 hours to groom out ONE of my English...and they matt up faster than my other two guys. I'm shearing mine now when the grooming gets too annoying.

So, after my experience with grooming English, I decided to look at French and Germans. French weigh about 7.5 to 10 pounds, which is like the next size larger after English. I have one buck so far...even though he is a junior molting out his baby coat (if they're going to be hard to groom, it's then) he is sooo much easier to groom than my English. I haven't groomed him in erm....like two weeks and he still looks great - no matts. Frenchies are probably the most popular Angora breed in the country. They come in a variety of colors, they're good woolers, and they're probably the easiest to groom.

German Angoras produce the most wool by far, as much as 4 or 5 POUNDS a year from purebred animals. That's about two or three times as much wool as the other breeds give. They were developed from English and other Angoras in Germany, strictly for quality and quantity of wool. They weigh roughly 8-14 pounds, although the size isn't as uniform as other breeds. Most Germans don't shed naturally, so their wool is harvested every 3-4 months by shearing. Since they're sheared, day-to-day grooming is pretty easy. Purebreds come only in red-eyed white, although many people have colored hybrids that are *mostly* German.

Here's some links with more info on Angoras:
www.angorarabbit.com
www.angorarabbits.com (pictures of English Angoras, different site from the one above)
www.rabbitandcavydirectory.com (click on "Breed Gallery on the homepage)
http://wooliecreations.net/
http://www.prismportal.com/fiberarts/storybook.htm

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  #4  
Old 01/12/07, 12:28 PM
 
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WOW RabbitGal that is exactly what I have been trying to figure out about the different types. I only have Jersey Wollies right now just to learn on. I hope to eventually move up to an Angora and from what you just described it will be a French or German (prob'ly a cross as I like color). Thanks for the links and your descriptions!!
Melissa

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  #5  
Old 01/12/07, 01:53 PM
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For us homesteader types, don't forget that the French angora is a dual purpose rabbit. It's also bred for meat conformation.

My French angoras are fairly easy care. I have a couple that will mat up moderately if I can't get them groomed, and others that you couldn't pay to mat. (they have a bit more guard hair, which some regard as a detriment) I have a Satin that mats if I don't get him groomed, but it could be worse. I really should sell the Satin buck as a fiber pet to someone who has more time than I do. He's a sweet blue buck, but I prefer the French fiber...and taste.

I think an English in full coat looks like a Tribble! Cute, cute, cute! But just the thought of grooming one of those makes me shudder!

Meg

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  #6  
Old 01/12/07, 03:15 PM
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Grooming an English in full coat makes me shudder too! That's why my oldest doe has a hot crew cut (and my other doe will be getting one soon...too bad ol' Willie is showing right now)!

If you're thinking about Angoras, be sure to check out the link to the NARBC that dlwelch gave...they have profiles and pictures on all the Angora breeds except Germans.

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  #7  
Old 01/13/07, 02:58 PM
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Well, since rabbitgal did such a good job on the other breeds, I talk about Satin Angoras. I got a red satin doe about 7 years ago. She was a nightmare. Fussy eater, always struggling with woolblock, small litters that mostly died. Then about 5 years ago, I got another SA. Matted like crazy, was really boney,
hardly grew any wool.
3 years ago, I got the urge again. BINGO! These SAs are prolific, good solid meaty bodies, very dense wool and easy to keep groomed. I'd say they are every bit as good as the French I have had for these past 10 years. They still don't produce the volume of wool the FAs do, but its sooooooo beautiful and shimmery silky soft.
Now if you asked me which breed I would keep if I could only keep one - I'd have to think loooong and hard about giving up the Satins...... and they might just win out.

Lisa at Somerhill
www.somerhillfarm.com

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  #8  
Old 01/13/07, 08:21 PM
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Um, just for the record I am very much an Angora newbie....enthusiastic, yes...but there are many, many wonderful knowledgeable Angora breeders on here (Somerhill is one)! So, please, ignore my big mouth...I get carried away sometimes...

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  #9  
Old 01/13/07, 08:31 PM
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The only time you should ignore rabbitgal is when she tells you to ignore her! She's very good on her rabbits, and obviously researches like mad when she gets into a new breed! So, just ignore her telling you to ignore her...and pay attention!

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  #10  
Old 01/13/07, 09:47 PM
 
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Wow, thanks everyone!
I didn't realize there were other fiber bunnies out there... as in, ones you can get fiber from while still having bunny.
Off to read about jersey woolies now...

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  #11  
Old 01/14/07, 12:39 PM
 
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I have a dumb, dumb question. Do you kill the rabbit to get the wool?

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  #12  
Old 01/14/07, 03:38 PM
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Nope. Its very hard to spin angora when its still on the rabbit. Makes for very lumpy yarn!
Seriously, rabbits grow in a coat and shed it out periodically, just like most mammals. We angora fiends either clip coat off with a pair of scissors or wait until the rabbit molts its old coat as the new one starts to come in and pluck the loose hair off.
Not a dumb question - a lot of people wonder the same thing, and we're always glad to clear that up.

Lisa at Somerhill
ww.somerhillfarm.com

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  #13  
Old 01/17/07, 09:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somerhill
Its very hard to spin angora when its still on the rabbit. Makes for very lumpy yarn!
Fuuny
Thank you, Lisa! I told my husband that I was interested in raising some rabbits for their wool and he's the one who said they had to die to give the wool. I wasn't sure I could do that.
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  #14  
Old 01/17/07, 09:52 AM
 
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Quote:
he's the one who said they had to die to give the wool.
Perhaps the terminology is confusing. Rabbit "fur" (for coats, etc.)
is from dead animals. In the case of fur (unlike harvested wool), the
skins/pelts are used.
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  #15  
Old 01/17/07, 10:24 AM
 
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But, how do you milk a bunny?

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  #16  
Old 01/17/07, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lacyj
But, how do you milk a bunny?
You hire a 6" midget and you get a REALLY small milking stand.

In all seriousness, perhaps you've heard people refer to their rabbits as "good milkers"? That just refers to how much milk the doe produces for her litter - you judge that by weighing the litter at 21 days of age. (They start eating solids at around 3 weeks, so any growth they do before then is nourished entirely by Mom's milk.) Basically, if she has a big litter and they're all fat and growing fast, she's a good milker. So...it's definitely something you'd want to keep track of in a commercial herd.
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  #17  
Old 01/17/07, 07:15 PM
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A while back I had checked a book out from the library that described the differences between breeds when the fiber is knitted up into garments. ie - some made lots of halo, or smoother yarn... etc.

It was written by an angora breeder from the Syracuse area, but I can't remember name of book or author! Is anyone familiar with it?

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  #18  
Old 01/18/07, 01:35 PM
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Could it have been "Completely Angora" by Sharon Kilfoyle and Leslie Samson? That's like the bible on Angoras. You can order it from www.lesliesamson.com. That's going to be my next reading aquisition.

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