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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-23-2007, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
 
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Angoras

Does anyone have any experience with angoras. I know someone who would be interested in knitting with wool from these rabbits... but I'm not sure if I should get into keeping a few to supply her. Is a major commitment of time and energy required to keep these animals happy and healthy? Also, how many would be required to produce enough wool to knit several sweaters or scarves over the course of a year? Is it better to keep them indoors or out?
I would really appreciate any input. Thanx. <-Steve->
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-23-2007, 05:01 PM
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Keeping rabbits is a major commitment and IMO, shouldn't be taken lightly.

Rabbits should be kept indoors. There are a lot of dangers when keeping them outdoors, take a look here...
Why to Keep Your Rabbit Indoors
Not listed on that site is the fact that rabbits don't tolerate heat well, and can easily suffer from heat stroke and die.

I'm not sure how many rabbits you would need to be able to make things with the fur, but I would assume a lot - at least a couple but I would think more. And a lot of rabbits, means you will need a huge cage for them. You may not even be able to keep them all in the same cage because some rabbits don't get along and will fight. My Zeus is the smallest breed of rabbit that there is, and he still has a decent sized cage as well as at least 2 hours of exercise time outside the cage every day. The cage/cages will also need to be cleaned out every day. You wouldn't believe how messy just one rabbit can be, let alone more then one.

Rabbits are expensive as well. The initial setup, purebreed angora rabbits, and all the other supplies may be expensive in itself. They're food isn't that bad, but vet bills will really do you in! The rabbits should be spayed/neugered for their health - esp. any females because unspayed female rabbits run a very high risk of developing reproductive cancer. To spay one rabbit is usually between $200 - $400. To get males fixed would be slightly cheaper, but generally rabbit vets are expensive and you will need to find a good knowledgeble rabbit vet because rabbits are very sensative to some medications/anethesias and your vet needs to know what is safe to give your rabbits.

Also, angora rabbits would need a lot of grooming, they would at least need to be brused once a day to prevent tangled/matted fur.

I don't want to discourage you from getting rabbits, I think they make awesome pets. But if you just want them so your friend has fur to knit with, that might not be the best for them. They take a lot of care and love to be part of the family. They love having time outside the cage to play and be around people - they shouldn't just be left in the cage all the time. If you still think you want to do this, really do your research first and make sure you know what your getting into. I'll put some sites up that are helpful if you want to take a look at them.

House Rabbits - Behavior, Care, Rescue, Adoption, Education | House Rabbit Society
How to Care for Rabbits | The Humane Society of the United States
Rabbit Resource
http://www.rabbitsonline.net/
Caring for Your Pet Rabbit: 8 Things You Need to Know


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-23-2007, 06:31 PM
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I have a French Angora but I don't do anything with her wool so I can't help ya there.

They do require quite a bit of grooming and no matter how much I brush mine she ends up with mats anyways .

And as Michelle said, rabbits are high-maintenance pets. Especially more then one...I have three rabbits myself and they are a lot of work. Only one is an Angora and I can't even imagine having more then one Angora. Also, if you kept more then one you'd need to spay/neuter them. In fact, that's a good idea even if you only have one rabbit.

Angoras do best indoors. Because of their wool they are prone to overheating...plus it'd be a nightmare if they somehow got wet/dirty. You can't bathe Angoras.

IMO, you shouldn't get rabbits just to supply someone with wool. I don't know if that's what you really meant but if so then I wouldn't do it. Rabbits require just as much care (if not more) then dogs and cats. They live quite a while so it's a long-term commitment. One of my rabbits is six and a half years old and they can live to be over 10.




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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-23-2007, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Dragonrain and Sasami. Great links. Great info. I had an idea it would be a major undertaking. I just wanted to hear from some people with real rabbit experience. My sister had a "regular" short hair rabbit once and it lived a long time, but even that one took a lot of care. Someday, I might look into getting a few alpacas to raise for their beautiful wool and gentle personalities... but I have a feeling that wouldn't go over too well in the city. Anyway, thanks for your help. I think I'll pass on the bunnies for now. <-Steve->
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-29-2007, 04:31 PM
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I have a french angora, a jersey wooly, and a lionhead, and am hoping to get another lionhead sometime this week.
I can't really compare their care to that off short hair rabbits, because I'm allergic to short hair buns, so I don't have any. The woolies need to be brushed regularly, because that hair presents a huge risk of wool block. They need to be fed a food high in fiber, I use oxbow, I have to special order it at my feed store. My buns are kept indoors. Angora wool is 8 times warmer than sheep wool. If you've ever worn a wool sweater, imagine 8 times that heat, covering your entire body. I wouldn't dream of putting my buns outside in the summer. Every few months, they moult, so you'll use that time to gather their wool. I have had my french angora since January, and have only collected a few ounces of usable fiber. It takes a lot to make a sweater. I hope to eventually have enough from him to make a sweater. I collect wool from all of my buns, the lionhead wool is shorter, and needs to be blended with sheeps wool for spinning. I just got my jersey wooly a few days ago, her coat has been clipped, so it will be awhile before i have any to save and spin.
Anyways, I hope I've helped. If you can think of any other questions, feel free to ask. I'll try my best to answer them, but I'm no expert or anything...

4 cats: Radar, Oscar, Mackintosh, Qwilleran
1 dog: Daphne
3 rabbits: Barbarella Bunny. DC's Lucy, Ricky
1 daddy-long leg spider: Spidey
8 assorted tarantulas
1 madagascar hissing cockroach: Lady
3 chickens
1 ball python: Eve
1 corn snake: Charisma
1 California kingsnake: Honey
1 tortoise: Charlie
2 Mali Uromastyx: Nick and Nora
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-29-2007, 04:38 PM
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Wow that's interesting that your allergic to short haired rabbits but not long hairs!

Any pics of your jersey wooly? I think they're adorable!


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-29-2007, 04:41 PM
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Here is Desiree. She came from the shelter, she had a few mats on her, and had already had other mats clipped off. I took the picture shortly after I brought her home. Her coat looks shorter in the picture than it really is...

4 cats: Radar, Oscar, Mackintosh, Qwilleran
1 dog: Daphne
3 rabbits: Barbarella Bunny. DC's Lucy, Ricky
1 daddy-long leg spider: Spidey
8 assorted tarantulas
1 madagascar hissing cockroach: Lady
3 chickens
1 ball python: Eve
1 corn snake: Charisma
1 California kingsnake: Honey
1 tortoise: Charlie
2 Mali Uromastyx: Nick and Nora
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-29-2007, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the input halfwaynowhere. I used to have Siberian Huskies when I was a kid and would occasionally try hand spinning their shed fur into a usable yarn. I had a little bit of success even with those simple experiments and thought that I might one day try using the wool from angora rabbits or alpacas in a more serious way. Well, time went by and I never got around to doing any of it - but I'm still fascinated by the process of going from "animal-hair" to a workable textile fiber.
At the moment, I'm not in a position to be able to give a "stable" of wooly-rabbits the kind of time and care that they deserve. I'm not ruling out keeping them in the future though, so I really appreciate you sharing your experience with your bunnies with me. Thanks very much. <-Steve->

P.S. Desiree is a beauty!
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