Thursday, January 15, 2009

Angora Harvest


Its harvest time for the angora bunnies and they love it.

I harvested two Ruby Eyed White French Angora babies -- 4 months old -- this week. This was their first harvest. They sat on my lap and purred through the whole process. I think they were happy to have their coats lightened and groomed. Its very satisfying to see the lovely, calm temperments growing in these rabbits and the dense, shiny angora coming off in handfulls. They already have a new coat growing in, so the old coat is loose and falling out.

We have 14 adult rabbits right now plus a few youngsters. We aim for 20 adults, so right now we'll be looking at 6 replacements among the babies, to fill the empty cages. Each bunny gives us about 100gms (3 1/2 ounces) of prime fiber every 3 to 4 months. Or about 400 grams a year, enough for one shawl or poncho.

Moms give less fiber as their energy is going in to producing babies, so we only breed our females once a year, to keep them healthy. The rest of the year they are growing their lovely fiber.

The winter harvest is the most satisfying, since the rabbits hang onto their coats longer and the fiber is full and long. One of our black bunnies gave us 6 inch fiber this time around and 120gms worth.

All my angora fiber is already spoken for. I have a one order for white sport weight yarn that will take all the white angora I have. Then I'm making a fawn "eternity shawl" for a show at the Art Gallery in March -- "Our Daily Thread". That will use up all the fawn I have, too. That will leave only black and chocolate angora in inventory.

My goal for January and February is to
1. Harvest all the bunnies.
2. Card and hand spin all the fiber into yarn
3. Design and Knit the angora eternity shawl -- due February 25th at the Art Gallery.

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