Saturday, June 19, 2010

French Angora Rabbit Breed Profile

The French Angora has a long history as a functional rabbit with a history of being raised commercially in Europe for their wool. Today this feature is still prized among those that keep these rabbits not only for fiber
but also for showing.

As a four class breed shown grouped by age of junior and senior and sex as buck or doe, the French Angora is shown as white or colored and available as agouti, broken, pointed white, self, shaded, ticked and wide band varieties. They are a medium sized breed with a range accepted of 7 to 10 pounds and an ideal size for bucks and does of 8 pounds.

The wool of the French angora is somewhat coarser than other breeds and ideally 2 to 3 inches long. The feet and legs are furred to the first joint and they might have tufts on the ears but not nearly as noticeable as on the English Angora.

Like the other angora breeds, the French Angora needs regular grooming to keep the fleece tangle and mat free. In the French Angora they will shed and extra grooming during this time "plucks" the shed fiber without hurting the rabbit in any way. This is also true of the Satin Angora, of which the French Angora was used to develop.

Sometimes breeders will clip the baby coat of young rabbits at 6-8 weeks then again at 20 weeks and from there follow the harvesting of wool during the natural shedding process. There is then a variety from the baby wool to the adult fiber in density.

Of course if you clip babies you must insure that they stay warm enough to maintain condition and growth as well as growing another coat. A good, tangle free coat means a higher quality fiber.

For all the work involved in keeping angoras there is another competition that those with wooly breeds can take part in aside from showing at ARBA shows and taking part in breed club activities. There is also fiber festivals in many parts of the country that judge on the fiber itself. For the angora breeder this can be an important selection factor to increase your fiber quality not only from a competition standpoint for fiber but also on your rabbits.

The French Angora can be a handspinner's dream animal, taking not a great deal of room or feed and supplying home grown fiber wherever you are. It gives a different appreciation of the work that goes into an angora
sweater when you grow it from birth, spin it into yarn, knit it into something to wear and get compliments for it.

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