Monday 6 March 2023

1983: Getting Angora Goats

After buying our place in McBride, we had a barn and pastures but no animals, and I had been wondering what kind of livestock I might get for our five acre “Hobby Farm,” since we already had the facilities.  When I found out about Angora goats, I became intrigued.  Angora goats were raised for their wool, or more precisely for their mohair.  The fine white silky fiber was warmer than wool, took colorful dyes better, and grew quickly.  Angora goats are generally shorn twice a year and the fiber was worth more than wool.  

I liked the fact that they were rather unusual, ancient-looking, creatures, but for me, the main reason I thought I might like to raise some was the fact that, unlike most other farm animals, they didn’t have to be slaughtered to benefit from them, you just had to shear them for their mohair.  I always get so attached to our animals, I knew I could never raise something I had to kill.

I discovered a farm not about 5 hours from McBride that raised and sold Angoras and made some inquires about purchasing a pair of them and made an arrangement to go see what they were like after we returned from our visit to Indiana for the holidays.

On January 2nd, the second day of 1983, the day after returning from a road trip to visit our families in Indiana, I picked up John Bird, a friend, who joined me in a blizzard drive to Bridge Lake, BC, to pick up two Angora goats (a buck and a doe) that I was going to buy.  We put the two wavy haired, bewildered animals into the back of the Scout, an SUV-type vehicle (I had put down the back seat and lined the rear of the car with a plastic sheet).  The two goats just curled up in the back of the Scout and didn’t cause us any trouble (except for the smell) as we drove them through another blizzard, to their new home in our barn. 

Angora goats are certainly unique looking animals, with their long, white curly hair and curled horns, especially the buck which has long thick horns (photo above).  The two looked like something out of an ancient fairytale.  Joan and I both got up early to see how our new pets fared through the night.  They were both very scared of us.  I was eager to let them into the paddock to see how they acted outside.

They cautiously went through the open barn door, then the female made a sprint for freedom, and spotting a low place in the fence, leaped over it, into the yard.  Fortunately for us, the buck had more sense and stayed in the paddock, and we were able to tie him to the barn door, and the doe, nervous to be alone, eventually, jumped back over the low spot in the fence and joined the buck.  We put them back into the barn where they stayed until I was able to goat-proof the fence around the paddock.

We have named the goats after Germanic gods.  Our buck became “Wotan” and the doe, “Brunhilde”.  While we keep going out to see the goats, they aren’t very exciting to watch.  They mostly just stood inside the barn, looking out of the open barn door.  A few days later, they so preferred being outside, that I had to chase them into the barn for night.


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