Raising livestock can be a fun and enjoyable task for many. However, the idea of eventually slaughtering such livestock for meat can be upsetting and a deterrent for some. Even the idea of using livestock, such as cattle or goats, for milk production can still seem cruel. A great solution to this is to rear animals for their fibers. For many animals, these fibers will naturally fall off or need to be sheared off. As such, rearing them for their fiber is a total win-win situation.
One of the easiest and best animals to rear for their fiber is the Angora rabbit! Unlike sheep or alpacas, Angora rabbits do not require large areas of space. In fact, a hutch cage is good enough! They’re also pretty easy to take care of. But, that begs the question – how exactly do you raise an Angora rabbit? Are their special considerations you have to include if you’re raising them for their fur? Well, that’s a challenge that many potential Angora rabbit owners face and we’ve put together this guide to help!
How Much Would It All Cost?
Well, the first cost would be that of your rabbit. A German Angora is one of the most productive breeds as they are two times as large as the English or French breeds. These rabbits go for around $200. It would be best to purchase yourself a buck and a few does as you would be able to breed them yourself too.
The next set of costs that you’ve to think of is your equipment costs. Depending on how many Angora Rabbits you purchase, you’d need the same number of hutches. You’d also then need food bowls, water bottles, bedding, food, and hay for each rabbit. It’s important to remember that the hay and food will be a recurring cost. Depending on when you’re placing your rabbits, you may also need to purchase additional housing or protection for them too.
How Do I Take Care Of My Angora Rabbit?
As mentioned, hay is a part of your Angora rabbits’ dietary needs. This is because it serves as a great source of fiber for them. And, this is important because they often swallow their own fur when they groom themselves. Without a regular diet of hay, your rabbit could end up with a blockage in the gastrointestinal tract.
It is also important to keep your rabbits in separate cages. This is because there may be infighting between bucks and copious mating between bucks and does. It is thus best to have them kept in separate cages. However, rabbits are still highly sociable. As such, you should place their cages next to one another. This allows them to “spend time” together. It would also be best to sometimes allow your Angora rabbits to roam around an open space. If you have your own yard, this would be ideal. Otherwise, Angora rabbit owners have let their rabbits roam around their own houses.
Lastly, Angora rabbits are relatively illness-free and healthy. However, they could also occasionally get ear or fur mites. This is due to their access to hay. Luckily, these mites are pretty easy to treat. All you’ll need is some Ivermectin-for-rabbits. This Ivermectin is different from that for cattle as they are milder.
What Are Some Reproductive Facts About Them That I Should Know?
As with most rabbits, Angora rabbits are also highly fertile. If allowed, breeding can occur once every six weeks. Mating is also highly easy to orchestrate as all you’d have to do is place the buck in the same cage as a doe. With the scent of the buck in the cage, the doe will go into heat and the two animals will mate. By the end of 31 days, a new litter of rabbits will be borne. If mating occurs, you would have to keep track of the days and prepare a nest box for the mother. This is where they will lay their young.
A terrifying possibility after birth is that the mother or father might eat or attack the babies. This happens if the Angora rabbits are stressed out by their environment. They may turn to attack their own. Alternatively, some owners have said that the scent of another animal on the babies’ may have prompted the attack. As such, it is important to isolate and prevent contact with them right after they are born.
If you are not interested in breeding, you might also want to neuter or spay your rabbits. For female rabbits, spraying can also be highly beneficial. This is especially so for older females (nine to eight years of age) as they have a tendency to develop ovarian cancer.
How Do I Collect Their Fur?
Well, firstly, this depends on which breed of Angora rabbit you’re raising. Some breeds naturally lose their fur and you can collect that. However, in other cases, you will have to harvest the fur yourself. This can be done in two ways. One, you could pluck their fur off. However, this isn’t the harsh pulling you might instinctively think of. Instead, it’s a slow and arduous process as you would have to gently remove only loose hairs. This is also continually done over a few days. Alternatively, you could use shears to trim their hair off. For breeds like the German Angora, you’d have to do this every 90 days. This ensures that your rabbit would stay in the healthiest form possible. Apart from that, you might also have to regularly comb out your Angora’s fur so as to prevent any tangles from forming.
How Can I Sell Their Fur?
There are many potential options for this and the payoff yield is high. This is because rabbit fur is much warmer than sheep fur when spun. Therefore, it is a good material to use in making winter wear. The easiest way is to sell your fur at fairs or festivals or direct to people who spin the fur into yarn. Alternatively, you might also want to try spinning your own yarn and selling that. That might give you a wider potential audience. If all else fails, there’s always the internet. You would surely be able to find buyers here!
In conclusion, raising an Angora Rabbit for fur is a great idea. Some work is needed in the raising and management of them. However, the payoff is fruitful and you’ll get to be surrounded by cute, fluffy rabbits!