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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! Last winter my nigora's coats got pretty matted (mostly because I was very pregnant and did not have the time/energy to keep up with it), and I was not able to use much of the fiber I harvested this spring. I was thinking about looking into goat coats or blankets to protect their fiber this year. Do you guys use goat coats? If so, what brand/type would you recommend?

Thanks for your expertise! :)

Bessie
 

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I always thought the coats would make the fiber worse. But then, we have Angoras so I'm not up on exactly what a Nigora needs that might be different. Do you sheer them 2x a year as well?

IMO, if you decided to go with a coat, I would think something nylon that would slide against the coat and not rub it more would be best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey Amy!

One of my goats is a "heavy" Nigora, and is very Angora-looking. The other has more of a Cashmere look (they are in the goat registry, Hana and Irma Louise). I really don't know much about the coat thing just brainstorming. :) Do you know of other options for preventing matting? I checked out your blog and saw you are quite a fiber artist! You probably have more expertise than I do--I'm still learning, even after 3 years.

My girls don't have quite enough fiber to need more than one shearing per year. I shear in the spring, their fiber grows over the fall/winter, and reaches it's full potential again the next spring. Nigoras can have 3 different kinds of coats, and some need to be shorn more often than others. :)
 

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Hi Bessie :) Thank you. I've been working in yarn/spinning fibers for a while now. I looked up your girls and they're very cute. Your goatie ones and your baby :)

I believe the coats are to help prevent VM and had nothing to do with matting. I'm actually kind of surprised that they matted themselves up to be unusable. Angoras and sheep will get spots that get matted but usually not an entire fleece. They're not supposed to felt up on the hoof. Not that it can't happen.

I'm not sure if coating them will help but it could be worth a shot. I've seen coats in Jeffer's supply for sheep that they say work for goats. You can also use a dog coat or just use a dog coat pattern to sew one.
 

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Hi Bessie - Last year, I had 2 pygoras with beautiful fiber that was very, very fine. It would mat easy especially if it got wet and Im wondering if thats what you experienced last winter. It was so beautiful and I put coats on them trying 2 kinds, open belly one thats off white with red collar and a tube sold at Valley Vet. I found that the coats did affect fiber quality so the coats came back off. One is still very fine this year so not using a coat on him but I still make sure to fluff him if he gets wet. His fiber acts more like angora rabbit fiber when it gets wet.

A little warning about does and the coats..the ones that cover their butts hold urine on the cover. They pee and urine runs down the cover. It gets gross after a while and sometimes the girls got irritated skin from it. There is a netted option that would allow that area to air out much better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Phydough--Thanks for the info! That sounds exactly like one of my does, the one who was the most matted this spring. She has super-fine fiber, and it mats so easily. So maybe I'll stay away from the coat idea...

Can you explain to me what you mean about "fluffing" them if they get wet?
 

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I wouldn't use coats to prevent matting, my Angora cross also went from no mats to matted in a week in march when we had a warm spell. The 2 ways I have been told to prevent that are, shear in fall even though the fleece will be short, it's still better than loosing a whole fleece in spring. Or shear earlier, like as soon as that warm spell hits. Oh that would be a good time to use the coat! Hoeggers supply has goat coats, maybe Valley vet too.
The problem that the crosses have is they still "shed" hair in the fleece,it lets go and mats, true Angora's don't shed so dont have that problem. My 75% angora Pygora's also shouldn't have much hair, but have a lot of fiber, so will get shorn next month.
Latte as she started matting while the ground was still snow covered.
image-2452996450.jpg
 

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I don't mean anything complicated. Just don't let it dry in a clump if you can avoid it after they've been wet. Just gently separate the hairs a little so it dries loose and not in clumps that will become a tighter and tighter knot the longer its that way. I treat it more like angora rabbit fiber (not angora goat) and that's a whole different ball of wax. Fine angora will become a mass in a flash when wet and I have to be super careful washing it. I normally don't wash it until its spun because of that. When my rabbits were younger and finer, a humid day would leave their ear hair clumping. They sleep under a water bottle and the hair that got wet dries in clumped knots if they can't reach the spot to groom. If I catch it early, it will pull free, but if not caught, it becomes a tighter and tighter knot. If I wash their angora, I have to be very careful to not agitate the water..more careful than other fibers. When storing angora, it will become a mass if packed tight compressed and needs to be stored loosely. I don't know if that needs to be done with fine pygora but I do it because of how its already been so similar to angora. Anyway, when I washed the pygora fiber, and I did it very carefully without agitating, it was a giant mass afterward. I gently tried to spread it out to dry and it was tightly knotted. I panicked! I waited until it dried then gently pulled at the edges and it loosened slow but sure and broke free, thank goodness! So next time, I'm treating it exactly like fine angora fiber and spinning it first, then washing it to avoid that problem. I made my own waterproof coats too and that also failed. I don't know if it was the fiber compressing or humidity, condensation between the goat and jacket maybe..don't know for sure but the fiber did better when out in the open air loose and in dry conditions.

Hygora - Oh no! Latte is a darn pretty color!
 

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I took some pics of what happened with the fiber during washing to send to fiber friends. I was getting help from them trying to salvage the fiber. I'll try to find the pics and post them or you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the great info guys! Hygora--your Latte looks very similar to how Hana looked this spring...only Hana looked much worse. It is almost comical how bad she looked. Here's a pic of her badly matted, and a pic of what she looks like now. I may take your advice and go ahead and shear her in a month or two. Her fiber doesn't get much longer than this anyway.

Phydough--thanks for the detailed washing tips!! I'll look forward to seeing your pics!
 

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What do you do with all of that beautiful fiber Bessie? Are you a spinner? I'm currently making myself warm booties for the winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I am an amateur spinner! Still learning, and it's been on the back burner for awhile as I don't have a place to set up my wheel. I do have a drop spindle that I use, though. :) I have a lot of friends who are having babies right now--I really ought to make some baby hats and booties out of it!
 

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I make hats, booties and sometimes baby blankets too. Drop spindles are very neat. I love them both for crafting and its something I could collect like thimbles or spoons from every state. lol Some of them are so unique and pretty. I'm not an expert spinner but I have been doing it a little bit and I learned that it's not rocket science. I'm watching beginners posting pics of their yarn and it looks great..comparable to people who've been spinning a while. I'm seeing people who haven't been spinning very long showing examples of their spinning and getting work spinning other people's fiber. Keep it up. The spindle is where very important skills are picked up :)
 
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