Mickey Nielsen of Bellingham, Washington, has for some years been on a mission to track down the pedigrees of the American cashmere industry’s original brood stock. This is a monumental effort and she has asked for some help in her endeavors. She has published a list of old goat farms and old goats about which she needs more infomation. Please review the following list and if you have any information to add, contact Mickey at MNielsen7@aol.com.
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