Angora rabbit breed is among the oldest types of domestic rabbit. There are at least 11 distinct breeds of Angora rabbit. There are four breeds among the eleven that are recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) and they include English Angora rabbit, French Angora rabbit, Giant Angora rabbit and Satin Angora. The other remaining breeds include German Angora rabbit, Chinese Angora, French Angora, Japanese Angora, Korean Angora, Russian Angora, St. Lucian Angora and Swiss Angora.
The angora is historically said to have originated in Ankara, located in the present day Turkey. It was brought in France in 1723 and it became a popular pet of the French royalty in the mid 18th century. By the end of the 18th century, the angora spread to other parts of Europe and their first appearance in the United States was way back in the early 20th century.
Types of Angora rabbit breeds
English angora rabbit
What makes this breed unique is its long heavy fur that covers its ears and face. Its bunny features are covered to the extent of mistaking it to a small dog. It has very silky and fine wool which makes it very soft. It comes in white color and other beautiful colors as well. Its coat has little guard hair and it wraps highly when it is spun. Its fur has very minimal fluffing. It is the tiniest breed among the four. A mature English Angora mostly weighs around 5 to 12 pound at maturity.
French Angora rabbit
This one looks more like a regular rabbit. It doesn’t have wool on its head, face, ears or the front feet. Its wool is the easiest to care for because it contains a higher percentage of guard hair compared to under wool. Its fiber qualities are excellent for hand spinning since its wool spins very easily. Its wool is also good since it fluffs nicely in the yarn. Its weight at maturity is about 8 to 10 lbs.
Satin Angora rabbit
Just like the French Angora rabbit, it doesn’t have wool on the head, face, ears and front feet. If you compare its wool with other breeds you will notice that this one is lighter and less dense. This makes the wool to acquire more grooming. However, advanced spinners prefer it due to its shiny wool fibers. A mature satin angora weighs about 8 lbs.
German Angora rabbit
German Angora is quite recognizable and popular among hand spinners mainly because of its size and a large amount of fibers it is capable of producing. A pure German angora rabbit is white pure and the colored ones are considered to be cross-breeds. Their double coat makes them have dense wool. Their undercoat is normally sheared because it rarely molts. It has the mature weight of between 9 to 12 pounds.
Giant Angora rabbit
This is the largest of the breeds and they are normally commercialized for large amounts of wool production. They have similarities with German Angora which at times makes them to be mistaken as the same breed. They consist of three types of fiber and the undercoat is the most dominant. Their wool needs shearing since it is very dense and they are rarely molted. A pure breed of giant angora is ruby-eyed white but any adult weighs up to 20 pounds.
Angora rabbit care
Do you already own or the plans of owning angora rabbits are underway? Perfect, since this guide is meant for you. To begin with, it is agreeable that angora rabbits are a good source of fiber especially if you have spinning projects. They are also easy to care for since they don’t require vaccinations and the cost of feeding them is also relatively low. If you want a good coat of fur, you have to be committed to taking care of them in terms of cooling and thoroughly brushing their coat at least twice a week. However, the German Angoras require less grooming and that is why they are a darling to many.
Managing their hair
Their long hair is prone to get matted in their cages. That is the main reason their cages have to be cleared and completely emptied at least once a week and during the winter, you can do it for two times a week. The rabbits have a habit of pulling their hair out and even when it sheds on their own, the rabbits will poop and pee on them.
This will definitely create a huge matted smelly mess that for sure you wouldn’t want to get into. If you want to avoid this, then you should keep their hair trimmed every now and then. You can also brush their hair out every week. You can also have a win-win situation if you cut their hair very short during spring and in the late summer. This will be cooling to them and you will benefit from the wool you shave them.
You should also have a spa day for them at least once every month. This is very helpful to them because the pseudo bath helps in controlling the matting and shedding. This keeps their wool very nice and clean. It is a simple and quick process. All you need to do is to dry shampoo them by sprinkling them with some cornstarch and brush it out. Water is not advisable because the rabbits can get scared and if the weather is cold when their bodies are wet, it could be disastrous to them.
Special grooming techniques require the use of a blower at least once a week. The blower assists in opening up the coat and keeping lots of hairs as much as possible on the rabbit. If you regularly groom your rabbit, it will be free from matts and tangles and the wool will be very good for spinning and felting. Blowers can be acquired in the dog grooming or horse supply catalogs and shape.
Angora rabbit nail care
Did you know that your rabbits require a nail care? Yes, they do and it should be done often. Angoras’ nails seem to grow faster. Since they can pull their hair and in return, it sticks on their nails, it would be wise to trim them before then. You can trim them on a weekly basis by use of an animal nail clipper and ensure you use on then alone. Another important thing is that you shouldn’t cut into the vain. If they have already overgrown, cut the like after every two to three days so that they get into a level you are able to trim without straining.
Angora rabbits are typically large rabbits and sore hocks should get you worried. Sore hocks come when they develop sores on the bottom of their feet and this can cause a lot of pain to them. This can be avoided by ensuring you clean the pen often and create a resting board for them. You can create one from a wooden board or an old scrap of carpet. Just get a place off the wire for them to sit on.
Angora rabbit feeds
Be ready to feed them because they eat a lot. They can basically feed on any type of food you feed them on and that will entirely depend on you. However, make sure you don’t overfeed them. Feeding the angoras is very important since they require protein for constant wool production. Rabbit pellets are very good and you can get them from any rabbit feed supplier. After six months, your baby angora rabbit becomes an adult and their food needs to be cut back. A good daily formula should accompany the pellets.
Quality hay at least three times a week is essential for their digestion. It doesn’t only add roughage to their diet but it also prevents something known as a wool block. Choose a good way to feed it to them such as sticking them on the door or whichever way you come up with. This is because if they knock it while feeding, and then it goes to the floor, the pellets will get into their fur.
Treats are very good as well and it is an important aspect of their feeding program. During the treats, remember to feed them on a gourmet meal of bananas, broccoli, papaya and extra hay. This is good for their digestive system to be smooth and they will not have a wool blockage. For rabbits at the age of 4 to 6 months, you should be extra cautious since their body systems are still delicate. Water is very important and you should ensure that you supply them with clean water throughout the day. You can hang the water outside the cage.
Normally, most Angoras shed their coat three to four times a year. In other words after 3 months or 90 days. The German angora doesn’t molt their wool like the other breeds and the option would be shearing the rabbit which is actually very common. How do you tell that the wool is ready for harvesting? Very simple. If you see clumps of wool sticking to the cage or the rabbit drag strings of wool behind it, then such signs are enough to guide you.
If you want to hand harvest your rabbits, you can do so by gently pulling the loose fiber from the rabbit with your fingers. Don’t worry that your rabbit will be in pain. This does not hurt the rabbit at all because that wool you are pulling has been shed by the rabbit naturally. If you intend to sell the wool, keep it neat by laying the staples of wool parallel to each other.
Just like the way a cat leaks its coat, that’s the same way Angora rabbit does. This is their natural way of self-grooming themselves. This means that if their coat sheds, then it is most likely it will ingest the loose fibers. A cat is lucky because it will be able to regurgitate the fibers from its stomach but your rabbit is not able to do so. A large build-up of that fiber will clog in its digestive system and intestines.
The interesting bit is that the rabbit will always feel full and in return, it will not eat or drink its food and water. If this condition is not treated on time, your rabbit can starve to death. The first sign of wool block is a loss of appetite and the other one is very small and dry feces. In severe cases, defecation and urination increase abruptly. A healthy rabbit should have a large, round and moist stool. It is very important to always check how your rabbit is eliminating and its general behavior. If it was playful and all over a sudden it becomes quit and feeds poorly, there may be a problem that needs to be addressed immediately.
The moment you suspect wool block, you should consult a veterinarian who has specialized in rabbits. If you don’t come across one fast enough, you should consider some first aid methods. A good one would be taking away your rabbit pellets and replace it with more hay. Add a little-frozen pineapple juice to its water. This will help increase stomach enzymes.
If that is not working, then change to mineral oil. You have to use a syringe to give it to your rabbit. If your rabbit has stopped drinking water, use should use the same method to get it into its stomach. Don’t give up even if there is no significant change after a day or two. Shave its fiber and continue feeding your rabbit as mentioned above.
However, this method can only work if you detect the problem early. For severe cases, the only option of saving your rabbit would be consulting a veterinarian or using intravenous feeding. A wool block can be very scary to experience but if detected early enough is easy to reverse the problem. Always observe your rabbit’s behavior closely.
Angora rabbit prices
They’re not too expensive but they’re not cheap either. You can find an Angora rabbit for sale anywhere between $50 and $400 depending on its age and breed. You must take into consideration beside the initial Angora rabbit price you will have to pay for everything for them, from food to care, medical interventions if necessary to accommodation. Its not like purchasing an object but making room and caring for a new family member or more if you consider investing significantly in Angora rabbits for their wool production.