Training the Herd Dog

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.

Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival – Sept 28 & 29

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.

Breeding Cashmere Goats

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.