Mickey Nielsen of Bellingham, Washington will be leaving the state on August 28th to drive to the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo, Colorado. She has room in the trailer to transport goats east. I would assume she could also transport goats west after the fair. If you are interested in moving goats, call her at 509-930-3628 ASAP.
Markets for goat are centered around ethic populations in urban environments. Arabs, Greeks, Hispanics and Asians are significant consumers of goats. Therefore, cities such as Los Angeles, Vancouver, Miami and Houston are prime examples of good goat market centers. However, it is not possible to waltz into the local Safeway, Piggly Wiggly, HEB or Albertsons and buy cabrito off the shelf. It’s just not available. The reasons for this fact are both varied and convoluted. It is very difficult to locate a slaughterhouse that will kill and wrap your market animals. They cite the possibility of “scrapie” (a very bad disease that doesn’t occur in goats and is related to mad cow disease) in goats as the reason they won’t handle the goat offal (non-meat leftovers). This makes no sense, but that doesn’t change the facts. Slaughterhouses that charge per pound of meat processed also refuse to process goats because they are used to the skinny little dairy goats that are sometimes presented for kill. They can’t make money killing those goats and they assume that all goats are created equal. Not so.
The third most cited reason is that they often don’t have enough goats on any given day to assure kill line efficiency. This has been a problem in the past. It’s almost a chicken-and-egg conundrum. If we had enough good, fat goats to process we could do it cheaply and efficiently. But we can’t get enough goats unless we slaughter a few at first and establish our markets.
Goats are highly preferential feeders and if the plants on the top of the goats’ list are also available, goats will eat those plants exclusively until those species are gone. The major drawback is that the most preferred goat foods are also species that are valuable and prized by humans… plants such as ornamental shrubs, trees and flowers. Guard these species carefully or else the goats will strip them bare. But if goats can be confined in a pasture that is dominated by some noxious weed, such as thistle or better yet, leafy spurge, the goats will happily munch on these plants to the exclusion of others. Especially with spurge, to which the goats become addicted, palatable species such as Timothy hay, clover and other hayground species will go practically untouched as the goats nip every available spurge flower. There are tracts of land in the northern tier states (North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska) that are virtually 100% spurge. The going rate for leasing spurge eating goats is $4 per head per month. Add it up. Even with providing fencing or supervision, this can be a significant income source.
What do handspinners want when they buy raw cashmere? First, they want good style. Style is the degree of crimp that each cashmere fiber. It is style that allows the fibers to hang together during the spinning process. Second, they want clear differentiation. Differentiation refers to the difference in diameter between guard hairs and down. The guard hairs should be straight; not wavy in any way. Thirdly, they want handle. Cashmere should have that indefinable feel of the softness of fine cashmere. Lastly, the length of down is important. While the longer fibers are easier to spin, the shorter, and frequently finer, cashmere fibers can be wonderfully carded and blended together with another compatible fiber. Merino and cashmere blends are lovely as are others. Click here to read more about spinning cashmere.
Growing quality cashmere is not easy. But with a little training and knowledge of what type of fiber is required by the processors, it is possible to maximize returns to the point where maintaining a herd of cashmere bearing goats is a profitable enterprise. Knowing what the processors want is the first step. Step two is learning how to recognize fleece that falls within those parameters. Then and only then can we begin to undertake a selective breeding program that will result in the upgrading of the current gene pool into one that consistently produces goats that grow cashmere under known conditions. Knowledge is the key. To read more about Basic Cashmere Classing, click here.
Capricorn is proud to publish a new page named “Training the Herd Dog”. Here you will find a comprehensive review of the steps required to train that border collie or Kelpie or whatever to help you control your animals. To view this page, click here, click on “Navigate” and/or scroll down to “Goat Management” on the sidebar.
The Clackamas County Events Center will host the 17th Annual OFFF! Their mission is to “exhibit & demonstrate the full spectrum of natural fibers… from the animal to the finished product”. And this they do well! This year, our own Wendy Pieh will judge the cashmere goat show & fleece competition. Additionally, she will put on a 4 hour workshop on fiber identification on the friday before the show. The cost is $45. At the show, there is usually some stiff competition, so good luck to all contestants… and to Wendy who will be working hard to earn her keep! Wendy and her husband Peter Goth have been raising cashmere goats on the coast of Maine for the past 16 years. Thru careful culling, she has developed a signature herd of silver-coated goats that yield lots and lots of beautiful white/grey fiber. She is a really good judge… you will learn a lot from her if you choose to participate either as a contestant or as an observer. The goat show is 9 am on Saturday Sept 28, at the Clackamas County Event Center, Canby, OR. The coordinator is Lisa Zeitz and the website is www.flockandfiberfestival.com.
It seems that there is a need for a Breeder’s Directory. My best source is the directory in Wild Fibers Magazine, www.wildfibersmagazine.com, but if you want more, let me know.
June 1 – 2, 2013 Pioneer Museum, 2340 N Ft. Valley Rd. Flagstaff, AZ. 10:00a.m. – 4:00p.m. $1 per person, 14 and under, and 65+ free
22nd Annual Wool Festival, a weekend celebrating the tradition of sheep ranching and fiber craft in Northern Arizona
Slogan: Sometimes the sheep wins.
* Live sheep, goats, and alpacas
* Herding dog and shearing demonstrations
* Fiber craft demonstrations; by Navajo and other local artisans
* Living history sheep camp; meet local Shepherds and sample traditional sheep camp cooking
* Local fleece and fiber crafts for sale
Call for more information: 928-774-6272
alternate URL http://www.arizonahistoricalsociety.org/museums/flagstaff.asp
Start Date: Jun 1, 2013
End Date: Jun 2, 2013
Start Time: 8:00 AM
End Time: 4:00 PM
Organized by: AlAnn Ranch Alpacas and Angoras
Web site: http://www.FiberAndWoolFestivalAtFlagstaff.com
Address: 2340 N. Fort Valley Road
…………..Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Are you interested in breeding goats, but don’t know where to start? Are you an established breeder but can’t seem to make any genetic progress? Capricorn Cashmere! can help guide you through the maze and give you sound advice. You too can own a viable livestock enterprise that can be expected to return your investment dollar.
World markets for the downy undercoat produced by goats have long recognized cashmere as the finest fiber known to Man. Victorian England prized the famous “ring shawls” woven in the Indian State of Kashmir… shawls made from fiber shed as goats moved to high mountain summer pastures. The lowly goat was man’s first domesticated ruminant. Ancient burial sites in China reveal that the goat was a revered and integral part of the culture of early man. Goats even helped man discover coffee by passing undigested coffee beans that were later used as fuel for fires. What a surprise that must have been! Goat produce meat, milk, hides for shelter and fine fiber to weave into warm clothing. Today, there are approximately 25,000 goats in the United States that can provide cashmere to entrepreneurs willing to exploit this resource. Because the fiber is so fine, one goat only produces 1/4 to 1/2 of a pound of fiber per year. And this fiber is hidden within a protective layer of guard hair, which must be separated out before processing can begin. This is why cashmere sweaters are so expensive. But because cashmere is the lightest weight, warmest and completely non-irritating fiber known to man, it’s worth it!
World markets for natural fibers have been rising due to demand created by fashion designers. Here in America, a few large producers in Maine & Washington are working to allow producers of the raw product not only an outlet to sell fiber at above world prices, but also an opportunity to value-add their product. Raw cashmere is worth $35 to $50 per pound. Prices quoted are for the “down” (dehaired batt) that is expected to be produced from a fleece. These prices are not for total weight of the raw fleece. You cannot multiply total fleece weight times estimated yield, or even measured yield and come up with the total fleece value. It is important to understand this concept before trying to market your fiber.
The goat also produces meat that sells for up to $3 per pound on the hoof and $10 per pound dressed. Milk from cashmere producing goats is usually not present in sufficient quantities to warrant harvesting. Think of trying to milk an Angus cow as opposed to a Jersey cow. Cashmere goats are basically meat animals that produce this wonderful by-product. Additionally, goats can maximize production on marginal rangeland. What this means is that the goat, while not willing to eat anything (tin cans come to mind), they do love to eat weeds and they will do so on the top of the most inaccessible hill available.
So if you have a weedy pasture, or a rocky hilltop that the cows won’t touch, or if you just love goats like I do, read on.