I am beyond excited to share that we're adding more fiber animals to our operation! Unless you want to count the countless attempts of our cats and dogs to donate fur to my endeavors (and I don't), Zeus the Flying Fluffbun--our angora rabbit!--has been the only fiber animal at Fairytale Fiberworks since its inception. I've bought all other fleeces from fiber festivals and a few trusted farms from further afield, most notably Cactus Hill Farm in Colorado.
Last weekend, though, my six-year-old daughter and I met an absolutely delightful collection of pygora goats at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival. They were adorable, playful, funny, and ridiculously soft and curly! My daughter declared that *she* would be a goatherd...but she would let her dad deal with the manure. ;-) We couldn't bring any of our new acquaintances home on the spot, much as we wanted to, but I started researching as soon as returned. We have small used field at the back of our house, and I've been making noises about putting alpacas or Jacob sheep there ever since we move in, but it turns out that fiber goats are actually a much better fit! Here's why:
1) Pygora goats are a cross between angora goats and pigmy goats. Like angora goats, they produce lovely mohair, but it's softer and finer than those of angora goats. Pygora goats are also significantly smaller than angora goats. Pygora goats are grouped into three types of fiber: A. B, and C. A is shiny and very loopy, but less fine. B is much finer and the staple is shorter, but still reasonably long. C is the finest of all, but the staple length is *very* short (often as short as 1.5 inches); this fiber is comparable to cashmere. The three goats we're getting all have type B fiber, which is perfect for us!
2) Goats need less space and fewer resources than either sheep or alpacas. Our field is reasonably sized, but not huge!
3) Goats (including pygoras!) eat ALL THE THINGS (almost...there are a few things that they need to avoid, including tomato leaves, acorns and daffodils)! They'll manage mowing their pasture, much to my husband's delight, and we can also set up temporary fences and have them clear out other areas for us (bye-bye, sour, unproductive blackberry bushes...you're being replaced!).
4) Pygoras are super-friendly and will love hanging out with the kids!
5) Pygoras produce TWO fleeces per year, so our flock of three will give me six fleeces to work with! I'll likely use a good bit of the fleece myself, but I may sell some.
6) Pygoras are excellent mothers and often have twins! We're getting three girls, and we'd love to have kids once we find a suitable buck as temporary help.
7) ....And, of course, the manure will be amazing for the garden!
And so, with no further ado, allow me to present the three ladies who will be joining Fairytale Fiberworks two weeks from today! A friend and I will pick them up on the way home from the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival. <3