Managing your Goats
Information on managing your cashmere goats in as natural a condition as possible to enusre their maxiumum health with minimal labour and input costs. Strategies to keep you both happy.
Our fleece is priced per ounce. This is raw fleece, which means it has been combed and packaged directly from the
Breeding and Heritability
A general discussion and links to the most popular strategies on breeding and understanding genetic heritabilities.
Assessing Cashmere Fibre
Information on the different methods of assessing fibe, incluiding pros and cons of each method. Including links to sources for obtaining both subjective and objective fibre elavaluation data on your cashmere fleeces.
Harvesting Cashmere FIbre
Explanations of the timing and technique of harvesting very clean cashmere fleeces.
What to Look for in a Fleece
A run down on what you should be looking for in a fleece when evaluating it subjectively and what each aspect of the evaluation is referring to.
Here you will be able to see actual fibre histograms with examples of excellent and poor cashmere histograms and one that would not classify as cashmere at all; complete with an explanation.
Livestock Photo Gallery
Check out our livestock photo gallery where you can see our herd in full colour.
If there is some information you can not find on our site, please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments you might have. We look forward to hearing from you!
In general, goats of cashmere descent are very healthy, hardy and fertile. This is owed mainly to the fact that they have been created through natural selection and have only recently become subject to more intensive mainstream farming practices. These are intelligent and fairly docile animals who can be trained to a routine very quickly, yet are also highly adaptable to regular change with little or no stress. They are quick to determine what you are asking of them and can be easily maneuvered and handled by a lone shepherdess.
For more information on assessing cashmere fibre, please click here.
Bucks typicaslly possess a Majestic wide sweeping horn set with does showing a less expansive, more refined and thinner set of horns. Cashmere goats are not inclined to use their horns abusively like some goats, but rather a turn of the horn can settle a dispute before it begins in most cases. They do not use their horns against humans and any animal that does, as with any other breed, should be culled regardless of their other attributes. These goats come in any colour pattern or combination you can imagine and have guard hair that ranges from very short to quite long and flowing. The style of goat one breeds is dependant on the environment they are raising their goats in as much as personal preference. Really anything goes as long as the goat is producing cashmere and it is of consitent quality across the animals body.
Cashmere is a fibre definition, not a breed predetermination. To meet the worldwide standard as written by the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturer's Institute
the fibre is generally non-medullated, has a mean maximum diameter of 19 microns and the Co-efficient of Variation (CV) shall not exceed 24%. In North America the fibre must also be a minimum of 1.25 inchs in length, have a curvature greater than 45 degrees per millimeter, have little or no luster and each animal has to produce a significant enough volume of fibre to be profitable. Presently the figure being used as a minimum yield is 2 ounces. This is calculated as the amount of useable fibre after processing to remove dirt, debris and guard hair and accounting for the fibre loss that occurs at each of these stages. Goats who produce fibre meeting these criteria qualify as cashmere goats, those who do not are simply fluffy goats. As such, qualification as a cashmere goat is something that should be assessed annually, on an individual basis and is not a right of lineage.
At Roving Winds Farm, cashmere is harvested by combing the fibre from each goat just as it naturally lets go and starts to shed. Each goat’s genetic make up in combination with the local environment determines when the goat will shed. This natural shedding of the cashmere fibre takes place somewhere between December and April which means we have a fairly long combing season, but this also allows us time to catch each animal at precisely the ideal time enabling us to comb ours goats only once while harvesting the fleece as completely as possible. In this way we are not only cutting down on labour inputs, but we are harvesting very clean fleeces which are ready for direct sales to the hand spinning market or fleeces that require very little in the way of dehairing if going into commercially processed products. Clean fleeces translate into lower shipping and processing fees and a higher return on ingoing weight; all of which help add profit to the farms bottom line.
At Roving Winds Farm we are striving to produce excellent dual purpose, correctly structured, high volume cashmere producing animals with correct, low maintenance feet. This allows them not only to survive, but to thrive with minimal but nutritionally balanced inputs, especially when managed in as natural a condition as possible. By managing them as naturally as possible we are in effect, continuing to allow nature to select stock who maintain their natural characteristics as suited to our northern climate; so they can be a truly healthy, happy and productive livestock entity. At a time when farming is such a gamble and is so poorly supported by governments, who can afford to raise animals who are not meeting minimum standards or who require labour intensive practices that impact your farms bottom line?
We are committed to raising healthy, disease free animals. As such, we have strict herd health protocols in place. We worm and vaccinate all breeding stock and do routine health screenings on our breeding herd.
At the same time, we are committed to food safety. On our farm this means that animals destined for the meat market are not exposed to drugs or residue causing agents during their time with us.