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Offline The15thMember

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Fiber Animals
« on: January 13, 2023, 01:03:55 pm »
My artist/goat owning sister has recently starting looking into getting a fiber animal of some sort.  It's kind of a pipe dream, since we don't really have the space right now, but she said she'd like to at least be able to dream about it more accurately.  :cheesy:  She's interested in hearing about anyone's experiences with fiber animals, be it goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas, rabbits, whatever.  Have any of you ever had fiber animals, or do you have any now?  What have your experiences with them been like?   
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2023, 01:07:28 pm »
I would like to be of help but I have never heard the expression or description of a fiber animal.

Phillip
Jeremiah 5:21 King James Version 
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2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2023, 01:11:29 pm »
I would like to be of help but I have never heard the expression or description of a fiber animal.

Phillip
A fiber animal is any animal that is being raised for its fleece or hair, so you can make yarn out of it.   
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2023, 01:17:29 pm »
Ah ok, we always called them fleece or fur bearing animals.  :oops:  I wasn't sure you that were not talking about fiber 'stuffed' animals (pillows) for the corner of a room, or a bed decoration after you said you did not have room for real animals.  :oops:  lol
In that case I would suggest sheep for a start. Im not sure but can't they be raised 'with' your goats, sharing the same space?

Phillip
Jeremiah 5:21 King James Version 
Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2023, 01:46:07 pm »
It's not for fur.  That requires butchering the animal to harvest the fur.  It's the fiber or fleece you're harvesting.  I've seen people just brush them to get fiber which has the advantage that it is not a all scratchy.  I've seen yarn spun from everything from rabbits, dogs, goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas etc.
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2023, 02:11:12 pm »
Mr. Bush. Please forgive me as I am still learning I have never seen a rabbit sheared lol only made into fur Lol  I have seen a small amount of fur self pulled for rabbit beds. But this only produces a small amount from each rabbit. Depending on how much hair you will need or how manny rabbits you 'will need' I suppose.  :smile:

I will add to sheep by suggesting a dog such as a shaggy dog if you wish to shear a dog. Perhaps the kind featured on the Walt Disney movie. The Shaggy DA lol.
Fleece him!  :cheesy: :wink:







« Last Edit: January 14, 2023, 02:13:03 pm by Ben Framed »
Jeremiah 5:21 King James Version 
Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2023, 02:24:31 pm »
Ah ok, we always called them fleece or fur bearing animals.  :oops:  I wasn't sure you that were not talking about fiber 'stuffed' animals (pillows) for the corner of a room, or a bed decoration after you said you did not have room for real animals.  :oops:  lol
We also have so many of those that we don't have room for any more.  :wink: :cheesy:

It's not for fur.  That requires butchering the animal to harvest the fur.  It's the fiber or fleece you're harvesting.  I've seen people just brush them to get fiber which has the advantage that it is not a all scratchy.  I've seen yarn spun from everything from rabbits, dogs, goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas etc.
Yes, I'm not looking for animals who have useable pelts or skins with fur, but animals who need to be sheared for their fleece or combed for their hair. 

In that case I would suggest sheep for a start. Im not sure but can't they be raised 'with' your goats, sharing the same space?
             
My sister has been talking with someone on her goat forum that also has sheep, and apparently it can be tricky to keep them both together.  The biggest issue is their mineral requirements are very different, particularly with copper, which the goats need a lot of and the sheep shouldn't have at all, which means you have to figure out some way to allow the goats, but not the sheep, to access the free choice loose minerals.  The other issue is that, in spite of being somewhat similar animals, they don't really speak the same language, especially as far as figuring out their pecking order goes.  Goats will rear up on their hind legs to butt each other, but sheep will back up to get a running start and then "ram" each other, which can lead to the sheep not being able to defend themselves against the goats as well.  It can work between certain goats and certain sheep, but some individuals just can't seem to get along well.  That was my sister's friend's experience anyway.   
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2023, 04:29:24 pm »
"Goats will rear up on their hind legs to butt each other, but sheep will back up to get a running start and then "ram" each other, which can lead to the sheep not being able to defend themselves against the goats as well."

As I confessed to Mr Bush, I am still learning. We have not had goats and sheep of our own; Well except when we once fenced off an extra acre to be used for a holding pen with hog wire and two strands of barbed wire on top, which was a semi wooded shaded 'thicket' full of briars, honeysuckle vines and other varieties of thick undergrowth. We let a neighbor bing in a goat herd to eat the stuff down while cleaning out the lot, which worked out well for us and the neighbor. I guess we can strike the sheep idea too. bummer.  :grin:

Which of the animals that your sister is wishfully thinking, would be her 'first choice' in the desired outcome?

Phillip
Jeremiah 5:21 King James Version 
Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2023, 04:56:10 pm »
Which of the animals that your sister is wishfully thinking, would be her 'first choice' in the desired outcome?

Phillip
Well, she's not really sure, which is part of why she wanted me to ask you guys.  Obviously, she knows how to care for goats, so that would be the easiest, but goat hair isn't always very easy to spin.  Sheep wool is the easiest.  My mom loves alpacas, so she's been looking into them too, but my sister doesn't have experience working with their fiber, so she's thinking about buying some alpaca roving (cleaned but raw fleece) to see if she likes working with it or not.  We also already know how to care for rabbits, and some rabbits have spin-able fiber, but she's never worked with that either.  The only spinning she's done is with wool, and most handspun yarn contains wool, expressly because it's easier to spin that way, so she kind of needs to figure out if it's too hard to spin yarn that's 100% non-wool.  Because if it is, then the only real avenue here is to figure out how to get some sheep and what kind of sheep she'd like to have.  Then once she had the sheep, she could easily just add a fiber goat to her herd, or get an alpaca or three, and do whatever she wanted.  :grin:           
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Offline Kathyp

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2023, 06:23:02 pm »
Lol.  I was wondering if there was an animal that could provide both meat and fiber and let me skip the veggies!  Not only would I not have to grow them, but I wouldn't have to eat them.   :cheesy:

IDK the answer to your question but I was told that one of my goats was the type that the undercoat could be carded off and spun.  It is pretty much like soft sheep wool when you pull it out.  Doesn't smell as nice.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2023, 07:54:23 pm »
Lol.  I was wondering if there was an animal that could provide both meat and fiber and let me skip the veggies!  Not only would I not have to grow them, but I wouldn't have to eat them.   :cheesy:

IDK the answer to your question but I was told that one of my goats was the type that the undercoat could be carded off and spun.  It is pretty much like soft sheep wool when you pull it out.  Doesn't smell as nice.
Goat undercoat is cashmere, and all goats have some amount of undercoat.  My sisters combs her favorite doe Murphy sometimes when she is shedding, and she has saved some of her cashmere.  The problem with goats that aren't bred for fiber is their cashmere is very short and of low quality.  My sister is going to try spinning Murphy's cashmere once she has enough, but she's not optimistic it will work well. 
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2023, 08:16:19 pm »
Hats off to you sister for trying. Thumbs UP!

Phillip
Jeremiah 5:21 King James Version 
Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline CLSranch

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2023, 11:56:38 pm »
Sheep are obviously easier to shear, but really not possible with goats. One's diet could kill the other. I'd suggest the alpacas and your mom is happy while having a predator animal with the goats. Or is that llamas that keep coyotes away?

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2023, 11:44:28 am »
Sheep are obviously easier to shear, but really not possible with goats. One's diet could kill the other. I'd suggest the alpacas and your mom is happy while having a predator animal with the goats. Or is that llamas that keep coyotes away?
I think that's llamas.  Alpacas are pretty small, and from what I've heard, they are very docile and unable to defend themselves.  We have two livestock guardian dogs already, so we've got predator protection covered.  :happy:  We got a little bit of snow yesterday, and the dogs were having fun tearing around and playing in the cold.     
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2023, 07:51:27 am »
There are rabbits (and other animals as well) that have been bred for their long hair for the purpose of making yarn.  You don't use regular rabbits.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2023, 11:53:21 am »
Redbud trees are happily blooming and dandelions are starting to pop. Not in my yard of course, the sheep are eating the down, but in neighbors yards haha.
Off-topic, but what kind of sheep do you have, Occam?

I have shetlands, 3 for now. Should be lambing in a few weeks
My sister is interested in perhaps getting a fiber animal, would you be willing to answer some questions about your sheep?  I have a thread on fiber animals going in the farming section, if you don't mind moving down there to discuss them further.   
Occam and I had this conversation on Follow the Bloom, so I figured we'd continue it on this thread.  How often you shear them?  What do you do with the wool?  Are they easy to care for?  How is their temperament?   
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Offline Occam

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2023, 12:43:50 pm »
Let me preface this by song in definitely no expert having just recently added sheep to our property in November. They've been very East to care for up to this point though I'm sure there will be some challenges as with all animal husbandry. In doing my research on sheep I wanted to find a breed that would do well with my philosophy on life which is generally to let nature be our guide. This is how I approach beekeeping (which I'm also new at) and most things in life. Nature is wiser than I, I'm just here to try ronwork with nature.

 All that to say... I determined an "unimproved" breed was likely better suited to this philosophy. They haven't been continually bred for show or certain looks, traits, etc and are largely the same as they were a few hundred to a thousand years ago. There were a few options such as Icelandic and Shetland to name a couple and I found a shepherdess with shetlands nearby so I settled on them. Both are nice looking breeds and smaller in size, which fits with my smaller homestead. Both were multi purpose useful for fiber and meat, the Icelandic is also considered useful for milk if desired.

In answer to your specific questions though. So far I have not sheared them though I will  soon, likely after lambingnhas taken place although I'll probably dag the ewes before lambing to make it easier for the lambs to access the milk bags. I plan on using the better parts of the wool for making roving. Spinning, etc. The rough parts that aren't useful for that illnlikely add to my garden beds. They only need shearing once a year. As a point of interest  you can roo Icelandic sheep, or gently pull tye fiber from them in the spring. They have a three part coat and partner it sheds.

So far they've been easy to care for, just providing clean water, hay, minerals, and shelter. They're pretty Hardy and don't care about snow or rain really spending time out in both.

Their temperament has been good, the ram is still young at less than a year and that may change as he gets older and shows dominance more. Another reason I picked shetlands is their smaller size. It hurts less getting rammed by a 100-110lb ram than a 200lb ram. Probably just bruises not broken bones. The ewes are a little standoffs but alhave been warming up to me, especially when I have grain. Aggression will be one thing I keep out of my gene pool as much as possible. If I have a ram that's being too cranky or aggressive I'll use him for dinner instead

Hopefullythat helps.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2023, 02:18:20 pm »
Let me preface this by song in definitely no expert having just recently added sheep to our property in November. They've been very East to care for up to this point though I'm sure there will be some challenges as with all animal husbandry. In doing my research on sheep I wanted to find a breed that would do well with my philosophy on life which is generally to let nature be our guide. This is how I approach beekeeping (which I'm also new at) and most things in life. Nature is wiser than I, I'm just here to try ronwork with nature.

 All that to say... I determined an "unimproved" breed was likely better suited to this philosophy. They haven't been continually bred for show or certain looks, traits, etc and are largely the same as they were a few hundred to a thousand years ago. There were a few options such as Icelandic and Shetland to name a couple and I found a shepherdess with shetlands nearby so I settled on them. Both are nice looking breeds and smaller in size, which fits with my smaller homestead. Both were multi purpose useful for fiber and meat, the Icelandic is also considered useful for milk if desired.

In answer to your specific questions though. So far I have not sheared them though I will  soon, likely after lambingnhas taken place although I'll probably dag the ewes before lambing to make it easier for the lambs to access the milk bags. I plan on using the better parts of the wool for making roving. Spinning, etc. The rough parts that aren't useful for that illnlikely add to my garden beds. They only need shearing once a year. As a point of interest  you can roo Icelandic sheep, or gently pull tye fiber from them in the spring. They have a three part coat and partner it sheds.

So far they've been easy to care for, just providing clean water, hay, minerals, and shelter. They're pretty Hardy and don't care about snow or rain really spending time out in both.

Their temperament has been good, the ram is still young at less than a year and that may change as he gets older and shows dominance more. Another reason I picked shetlands is their smaller size. It hurts less getting rammed by a 100-110lb ram than a 200lb ram. Probably just bruises not broken bones. The ewes are a little standoffs but alhave been warming up to me, especially when I have grain. Aggression will be one thing I keep out of my gene pool as much as possible. If I have a ram that's being too cranky or aggressive I'll use him for dinner instead

Hopefullythat helps.
Thanks so much, that's great info.  We don't have the space for sheep right now, but were are looking at purchasing the property next to us, and they could be in the cards then. 
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Offline BeeMaster2

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2023, 05:39:21 pm »
Occam,
Quote It hurts less getting rammed by a 100-110lb ram than a 200lb ram.

I think one of these days you are going to be very surprised how much a 100 pound animal in peak condition can hurt you. Bee careful.
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Offline Occam

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Re: Fiber Animals
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2023, 12:18:33 am »
Occam,
Quote It hurts less getting rammed by a 100-110lb ram than a 200lb ram.

I think one of these days you are going to be very surprised how much a 100 pound animal in peak condition can hurt you. Bee careful.
Jim Altmiller

Oh I have no pretense it won't hurt. I never turn my back to him and have told the kids to always be vigilant. Less was the key word, I'm sure it will still hurt a fair bit, hopefully we can dodge the ram lol
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