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Seasonal fleece growth and follicle activity of US Angora does subjected to different nutritional planes

A. J. Litherland, C. Toerien, T. Sahlu, P. Lee, and A. L. Goetsch

Small Ruminant Research. In Press. 2000.

Unlike its seasonally shedding ancestor, the Angora goat and most domestic sheep produce fleece continually throughout the year without a visible period of shedding. Nonetheless, Angora goats of Australia and New Zealand and many domestic sheep breeds exhibit seasonal changes in fiber growth rate driven by photoperiod. There has not yet been a characterization of the seasonal mohair growth cycle in US goats. This could be of value in a number of ways. For example, if mohair growth in US Angoras is seasonal, then efficiency of feed use for mohair production could vary during the year, and most appropriate diets or supplementation strategies will differ among seasons. Hence, the objective of this experiment was to determine seasonal effects on fleece traits including fiber growth in US Angora goats. Twenty nonpregnant Angora does were used to determine seasonal effects on fleece traits including fiber growth and follicle activity. Does grazed pastures and were supplemented with a 50% concentrate diet at a level near that required for BW maintenance. Results of this study indicate that a seasonal cycle of fiber growth in US Angora goats exists. Primary follicle activity was lower in winter than summer, and clean fiber growth rate and fiber diameter were lowest in winter, greatest in summer and intermediate in autumn and spring. Fleece fiber medullation was greatest among seasons in summer, and medullated fiber diameter was greater in spring and summer than winter. These results can be used to design optimal feeding programs for mohair production and shearing times for minimal medullated fiber contamination.


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