Winner of the most originally named goat breed goes to… drum roll… the Pygora goat… a mix of the Pygmy goat and the Angora goat breed. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it took literally minutes of agonising to come up with the name for this particular breed, making the Pygora goat officially the Beniffer/ Brangelina of the goat breeding world. Let’s have a closer look at this celebrity crush of a goat breed…
The Pygora goat was originally bred in the 80’s by Katharine Jorgensen of Oregon City, to produce fine fibre for hand spinning. The Pygora Breeders Association started in 1987 and continues to focus on the breeding and promotion of this miniature goat breed to this day. Remember though, if you want to register your Pygora goat, you’ll need to make sure that your goat is no more than 75% AAGBA registered Angora goat, and no more than 75% NPGA-registered Pygmy goat. Otherwise you’d have to call it an Angmy, or a Pandora or something.
Small and compact with a little head and short legs, the Pygora goat is nevertheless quite hardy and strong for such a small goat.
They are friendly and social creatures that are curious about all their fellow livestock and poultry. They have a lively, fun-loving temperament, and they are great for having around supervised children, especially when hornless (for obvious reasons).
Usually weigh in at around 43 kgs, and measuring 23 inches at withers. They have tubular ears pointing down and erect from the sides of their head, and the ears are the same colour as their coats. They’re generally hornless but can have straight horns. They mature at 3-15 months, reach puberty at 4-9 months, and they can be bred from 1 year, serving 20-30 does in a season.
Weighing in at around 34 kgs and measuring 18 inches at withers, the doe has the same ears and horns as the bucks. They mature at 5-15 months and reach puberty at 4-10 months
Doe breeding & milking information
They are good little breeders that can be bred from 18 months. The does have 1 annual breeding cycle and period that usually lasts 21 days/18 to 24 day 12 to 36 hours. Once pregnant with kids, the gestation period will last on average around 148 to 155 day but most are 150 days. The lactation period is around 250 to 284 days, most commonly 284 days, with milk that contains good butterfat and protein content, and they can produce about 1 to 2 litres a day depending on the goat and time of lactation. They are pliable and quite easy to milk.
Pygora goats usually give birth to either twins or quadruplets, they often have 1 to 3 kids in total and they are excellent mothers. Their kids weigh around 5 pounds at birth and can jump and run within four hours of being born. The kids are commonly weaned by the time they are 12 to 14 weeks old.
Keeping your Pygora goat
The Pygora goat makes an excellent starter goat. Unlike the Angora or the Cashmere goat there’s no need for a large homestead. In fact, they would be suitable for the Urban Homesteader due to their size.
They are pretty much adaptive to any environment as long as there are healthy lush greens for grazing on, lots to do and play with, and they are provided a safe environment from predators. At the same time, the Pygora goat is agile and an exceptional escape artist that will climb or jump over anything in their way, so any enclosure will need to bear this in mind. At a minimum, high fences, for extra peace of mind at least partial electric fencing would also be a good idea.
This goat breed is happy in all climates, but especially cooler climates and they have No known health issues.
Pygora goat fleece
Let’s get down to the main attraction. Most Pygora goats produce six ounces to two pounds of hair per shearing, of three different fleece types:
- Type “A”: (Angora type) — This fiber is very fine mohair. Long, lustrous fiber up to six inches, hanging in long, curly locks. The hair coat is not obvious on a type “A” animal. Some type “A”, “F1” Pygoras are single coated. Type “A” goats must be shorn, usually twice per year. The fibers are typically less than 28 microns (µm) in diameter.
- Type “B”: (Blend type) —A blend of the Pygmy goat undercoat, cashmere and Angora mohair. It is between three and six inches long with a nice crimp (fiber waviness). The second coat is usually obscured by the type “B” fleeces that are three to six inches long. Type “B” can either be lustrous (shiny) or have a matte (dull) finish. This fleece type is the most common. These goats may be shorn, combed, or plucked. The fibers are usually less than 24 µm in diameter.
- Type “C”: (cashmere type) —A very fine fiber with no luster and length of one to three inches. The hair coat looks very coarse in comparison to the other types but Type “C” can be acceptable commercial cashmere. These goats may be shorn or combed. The fiber is less than 18.5 µm in diameter.
All fleece types will mat if left too long on the animal. All of the fleece types matt in the spring, however, types B and C will shed out, so only type A must be sheared. Some people choose to comb out the hair of type B or C goats, others shear them with hand shears, electric shears or scissors.
Little or no lanolin exists in Pygora fleece, so care must be taken not to over-spin it. It blends very well with wool and silk. Pygora fiber takes beautifully to natural, commercial, or Kool-Aid™ dyes.
The Pygora goat offers backyard and small acres homesteaders the opportunity to raise their own fiber, and perhaps make some extra money selling it as a homestead-based business.
A mature goat is capable of producing between 8 to 16 pounds of mohair annually. A goat kid can be shorn once its hair is at least four inches long.
Pygora goats produce excellent fine fiber for hand spinning, and this fine fiber often brings a higher price. A Pygora goat can produce between three to five pounds of mohair in a year. A single pound of mohair can sell for up to $10 per pound (depending on the market, obviously).
What Is Goat Fleece?
Goat mohair is soft and fluffy, making it perfect for use in creating lace, knitting, wet and needle felting, wig making, spinning, and weaving.
Mohair from miniature fiber goats, and their Cashmere and Angora standard stature peers, is more durable, crease resistant, flame retardant, and (naturally) more elastic than wool. Like silk, goat mohair is considered a “luxury” fiber.
Contrary to what you may have read, or graphic videos published by animal rights groups, goats are generally not butchered for their coats.
Instead, goats are shorn twice a year just like sheep, then left to what it is goats do until they grow another light and fluffy coat.
Goat Shearing Tips
Before shearing, give your Pygora goat a bath, then blow away as much dirt and debris from their coat as possible. Use a hairdryer on a cool heat setting or air compressor nozzle to blow the debris along the side of the soft fleece coat and not directly down onto it (this avoids the dirt and debris going deeper inside or becoming even more tangled)
Once the goat has been cleaned, start shearing a single strip line from the along the goat’s backbone from the tail up towards the withers.
Continue shearing the Pygora goat on either side of the backbone down toward the sides of the sheep – keeping the shearing blades parallel to the animal’s side will help prevent nicking your goat’s flesh.
If you’re shearing during cold weather months, always leave a light layer of wool on the Pygora goat to prevent the animal from catching cold and possibly developing an illness – especially the dreaded goat pneumonia.
When shearing along the underside of the goat’s belly, be especially careful and shear slowly around the teats, penis, testicles or udders, and also use caution when shearing on and around the hind legs. Make sure you are keenly aware of back leg tendon placement when shearing to avoid nicking the area with the trimming tool.
When shearing along the front shoulder conformation, don’t shear across but up and down to avoid cutting the flesh that runs in between the bones.
The chest and neck area of the goat should be shorn last. Don’t cut any wattles the goat may have and shear slowly, gently, and carefully around the throat area.
Check over your goat for any cuts or nicks. If you find any, treat them with a triple antibiotic ointment, or your typical livestock first aid cream, to prevent dirt and debris from getting into them and causing an infection.
Once your Pygora goat has been shorn, make sure he or she has plenty of safe clean bedding and a place that is nice and dry to sleep.
If you’re the worrying type, you could also wrap a goat coat, (or a big dog coat would probably work just as well), around the recently sheared Pygora, and allow the animal to wear it for a few days as its fleece begins to fill back in.
The Pygora goat breed is easy to manage, amiable, and they produce fine fiber that could be an excellent opportunity for a small homestead to make a little money on the side.
For more information, approach the pygora breeders association at https://pba-pygora.org/.