by Savannah Cavanaugh
Even though I like to hang out with my friends and play sports, I have a hobby that separates me from other teenagers my age. I have a love for nature and animals, especially angora rabbits.
Angoras are a long haired breed of rabbit. They are an old breed, first being recorded in 1708 and thought of as a god by the Babylonians. Angoras have been raised for wool, meat and show. There are five different breeds of angora rabbits, the French, English, German, Satin and Giant. The French, English, and Satin come in multiple different colors. The German is not recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association and only comes in white.
I first became interested in angoras while I was camping at Searsport Shores and saw a brochure for Fiber College. Fiber College is a weekend event devoted to fibers, spinning and all kinds of fiber art. There was a class called All About Angoras, taught by the owner of All About Angora. I attended Fiber College that September and had a blast, it was amazing. Luckily my mother is an animal lover and has no problem with me raising rabbits, or most other animals This made it possible for me to came home from Fiber College with my first angora, Chilee Boy and soon after added Floyd to our rabbit family.
My angoras are a French and a French-German cross whose characteristics are more German than French, and are raised as woolers only. I got both of my bunnies from a very reliable breeder, at All About Angoras in Maine.
To me, the wool is the more important than show, and I can't even think about eatingthem, because I'm a vegetarian. So that answers the obvious question - you don't have to kill the rabbit to harvest the wool. Angora wool is the second softest wool, the first being musk ox, and it has better insulating properties than sheep's wool, and it can absorb 30% of humidity without even feeling damp!
The wool can be harvested by plucking (where you pull the wool out gently), clipping with scissors (Patti has a great video on it, watch it) or by using shears/razor. You can do anyone of these every three months or when ever the wool is ripe. After harvesting, the wool can be spun right away, unless there's debris in it, then I would recommend carding the wool (Patti has an awesome video on carding too). This fiber can be used to spin or to felt, either way, it is great fiber.
Angora rabbits are docile creatures and they and their wool can be a lovely addition to any lifestyle.
Savannah is 13 years old and lives in Southern New Hampshire with her parents and brother. They have three dogs, 2 mini Australian Shepherds and a Black Lab/Golden Retriever mix. Not to mention a cat, four rabbits, a hermit crab, two parakeets and several tanks of fish.
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