Meet Beaver Pond's Goats
Goats were one of the first domesticated animals in the world — even before dogs. Farmers often employ goats for milk and fiber production, as well as clearing unwanted vegetation — herbicide free!
Four goats live at Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center: two pygmy goats that produce cashmere fiber and two angoras, which produce mohair. We use the goats to teach people about fiber education options, as well as animal husbandry education.
Viola and Miranda are pygmy goats, which produce cashmere, a soft and strong down. Cashmere is eight times warmer and a third lighter than sheep’s wool.
Viola and Miranda arrived at Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center April 14, 2013 from Jabberwocky Farm. Miranda has dark fiber and Viola, light.
Pygmy goats originated in West Africa and were imported as exotic animals, mostly in the 1950s. Males weigh 60-85 pounds, and females weigh 50-75 pounds. Farmers often favor them for their small size and milk production.
Kahale (Ka-hall-ee) and Jelly Bean are angora goats from Sister Sheep. The fiber collected from angora goats is called mohair. These two boys joined Beaver Ponds April 16, 2013. Because Jelly Bean was gelded at a later age than Kahale, his overall size and horns are larger.
Angora goats are smaller than most goats (except pygmy goats) and sheep. Mature males weigh between 180-225 pounds, and females only weigh 70-110 pounds.
Angora goats originated from Asia Minor and date back to B.C. times. Throughout the centuries, people have valued angora goats for their mohair, which is smoother than wool. Its strong, elastic fiber results in durable upholstery and other fabrics. An average angora goat yields about 10 ½ pounds of mohair when sheared twice a year.
At Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center, we shear our angoras to gather fiber; shearing is akin to getting a haircut at the barbershop. In contrast, we harvest our cashmeres’ fiber by combing, rather than shearing, due to the goats’ fine undercoat, because if we cut it, we would need to meticulously separate the loose coarse hairs from the loose, finer undercoat.
Visit Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center to see the “exotic” West African pygmy goats, and experience, firsthand, the difference between goats that produce cashmere and goats that produce mohair.
Viola – April 2012
Miranda – April 2012
Jelly Bean – April 12, 2009
Kahale – May 3, 2011