Health maintenance is vital for raising and producing a strong healthy angora goat.  With long fleece, it is sometimes difficult to tell what the body condition of your goat is  without actually inspecting the goat physically.  A goat may look “fat” because of a full fleece, but may be quite thin under all of that mohair.  That is why it is good to catch your goats regularly and physically inspect them for body condition (which is the amount of fat on their ribs, hips and backbone).

While you have them, also look for lice and see if their mohair needs to be trimmed so they can see.  A goat that is “wool blind” and cannot see properly may not be able to successfully compete for feed and will thus lose condition.  Angora goats can get “shy goat syndrome” which means a certain goat finds himself at the bottom of the pecking order and gets bullied by the rest of the goats in his group.  This goat will hang back from the feeder and slowly and surely lose weight because he is “the low man on the totem pole”.  If you see this happening to a particular goat, remove him from his current group and put him in a less dominant group.  For instance if he is in with the yearling bucks, put him in with the buck kids.  Another strategy to remedy the situation of the shy goat is to place him in a separate area with a buddy, someone he can pal around with.  Choose a goat that gets along very well within the shy goat’s bully group.  Any 2 goats alone in an area will usually eventually become buddies because goats are strongly oriented to being herd members and don’t like to be alone.  Once the bond is strong between these two goats (a couple of months or so) return them to the original group.  This strategy often works because the previous bully group will accept the 2 buddies as a sort of unit and the shy goat now has a buddy.  If it does not work, the shy goat has no choice but to go to a younger group where he himself may become somewhat of a bully.  Go figure.

In your inspection, also check for overly long hair where they urinate.  The constant exposure of skin to urine moistened fleece can cause extensive skin excoriation and breakdown that is painful to the goats.  Long haired goats can also get “fly strike” from the skin breakdown. A couple of minutes of hair trimming makes for a much happier goat.

The following sections on health, shelter, shearing,hoof trimming and vaccinations are included as general guidelines for angora goat producers.  There are good books available on general goat care.  Ask fellow goat producers or sheep producers as well. And of course, I can’t stress enough how valuable your veterinarian’s advice is to your herd’s overall health and well being.