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further, to say that the Angora goat is supposed by naturalists to have originated in Persia. Apparently, however, it was first dorhesticated in the district of Angora, in the Taurus Mountains, where it was certainly known as far back as the time of Moses.
It is a veritable golden fleece that is produced by this species of goat—the most valuable, indeed, of all fleeces, and fetches now an average of thirty-four cents a pound in the market. The animal is so extremely clean that it does not have to be washed before being clipped, and its hair, snowy white and of a beautiful silken luster, grows in ringlets, from five to twenty inches in length, curled as daintily as if twisted about a stick. This fleece is the mohair of commerce—a kind of fiber so highly valued that the demand at all times far exceeds the supply, and might be indefinitely increased.
Indeed, the Angora has already proved its usefulness in America, nearly 2,000,000 pounds of mohair having been produced in this country during the last year. But the government is exceedingly anxious to encourage the breeding of the
creature, inasmuch as it is capable of yielding a vastly greater output, all of which would find ready sale. Goats of this kind are quite as hardy as the everyday variety; they readily adapt themselves to any sort of climate; they cost very little to keep, and the labor required in caring for them is trifling.
There are in the United States vast areas of mountainous and other waste land, unavailable for any other purpose, which could easily be made to yield a valuable crop of mohair annually. For Angora goats appear to enjoy no sort of provender so much as brush and weeds of all sorts; and one way in which they make themselves useful is by clearing brush-covered territory and rendering it available for tillage.
As pets they are altogether satisfactory, being as docile and as easily trained to harness as the common Billy or Nanny —though, if given their choice, they prefer to roam over high places, and will even essay out of mere sportiveness the climbing of a roof. Silvery-white in color, they are most graceful creatures, with short legs and spirally-twisted horns. It is necessary to beware of their appetite for clothing, which seems to be difficult to restrain if they have an opportunity to get at it; and precautions must be taken to prevent them from attacking fruit trees. In all other respects they are quite harmless, as well as amiable in disposition.
If we chose to create the necessary flocks, there is no reason why we should not supply the world with mohair. On waste lands in various parts of the United States there is plenty of room, as well as food supply, for 30,000,000 of these goats. Having so much territory available for the purpose, we could establish the industry on an unrivaled scale, exporting great quantities of the fleeces to Europe, and incidentally supplying • raw material to keep busy scores of factories in our own country.
The Angora fleece makes the handsomest rugs imaginable, as well as upholsteries and other such fabrics not surpassed by any other material. Inquiry elicits the fact that the skins are being utilized largely for children's muffs and
as trimmings for coats and capes, while the finest kid fleeces furnish collars and borders for the most beautiful opera cloaks. And in the shops many exquisite "furs," sold under trade names, are in reality supplied by the Angora. For robes for baby carriages there is at the present time nothing more widely employed than the same • kind of silveryfleeced pelt.
For certain purposes the leather of the Angora is considered valuable, and the meat is highly esteemed by those who have tasted it. In fact, the flesh of the kid, served with green peas, is hardly distinguishable from the tenderest spring lamb. Thus it will be seen that the animal has a wide variety of uses; and, when it is considered how easily and cheaply the goats may be reared, it is, or should be, obvious that they afford an opportunity of wealth to the farmer which he cannot afford to neglect.
The finest mohair fleece comes to market from Turkey. Only a small fraction of that produced in this country is of equal quality—the trouble being simply A Flock Of Young Angoras.
that the American goat-owner does not take the trouble to improve and maintain the breed. It is most important that this fact should be recognized, inasmuch as the demand is not for a short, coarse staple, but for long silky fiber. There is a single manufacturer at Sanford, Me., who uses a million pounds of mohair every year, and, for the reason mentioned, he is obliged to import the bulk of it.
To start a flock of Angora goats is not an expensive matter, inasmuch as the thing may be accomplished by purchasing one or two well-bred bucks. They cost fifty dollars apiece ; but for does the ordinary, every-day Nannies will serve perfectly well. For the first two or three generations the fleeces will be inferior, but after that (all males being carefully eliminated) they will begin to bear much longer hair, and pretty soon the entire flock will produce mohair of first-rate quality. It should be explained, however, that the does originally selected must be of the short-haired kind and entirely white. To build up a flock in the manner described ought not to require
more than five or six years.
The only thing to which the Angora goat really objects is wet. Except when a very young kid, it does not mind cold, but it will run miles to avoid a coming rain. Accordingly, suitable shelter, proof against damp, should be provided by the goat-owner. It is said, by the way, that the animals afford in the manner above suggested quite remarkable indications of approaching storms. At some future day, it may be, we shall import into this country a certain small variety of Angora which is native to Thibet and northern India. It is known as the "shawl goat," and bears in the winter season an under-coat that yields only two or three ounces of a delicate greenish wool. This wool—some of it collected by the natives from bushes by which it has been torn off—is the most precious of all fibers, being the material out of whicji the Cashmere shawls are made. Ten goats are required to furnish stuff for a single shawl four and a half feet square—the wool being first bleached with rice flour, then spun into thread, and finally woven.
Milch Goat From Malta.
made. It is thought that they would prove most valuable in the United States, especially to people who are too poor to keep a cow. The milch goat, it may be said, is the poor man's cow. Besides, the milk has certain advantages which highly recommend it, being specially desirable for invalids and for infants. The luxurious "bottle baby" may even take a goat along with him wherever he travels, and thus keep himself supplied with an unvaried diet.
So excellent is goat's milk for infants that already there is a movement to establish goat dairies in the vicinity of large cities, to supply babies with the bottled article. Such milk appears to be free from germs of tuberculosis, and is recommended by physicians for patients suffering from consumption and typhoid fever. But it also furnishes most excellent cheese, and efforts are being made by the government experts to utilize it in this way, in imitation of certain foreign
gives from four to six quarts a day.
The preliminary experiments with iin-" ported milch goats have been made at the Agricultural College, at Storrs, Conn. From this point small batches of them are being distributed to experiment stations in other States—the idea being that in this way they shall eventually become obtainable by farmers or other persons who want them. It is a line of investigation at once interesting and novel; and this brief description of it ought to be supplemented by reference to efforts which are now being made by a philanthropic lady in Chicago, Mrs. Edward Roby, who is trying to create an American breed of milch goat. She began, a few years ago, with a few specimens of the ordinary suburban variety, and is improving them by scientific propagation—meanwhile supplying many poor people, at cost price, with goats, in order that their babies may be better nourished and safer from scarlet fever
and other maladies which, through infection of the ordinary milk supply are threats to infancy.
The goat has been a much maligned animal in this country, but the people who have been investigating along the lines laid out by the government experts have conceived a wholesome respect for the animal. It is quite likely that a few years will see a strong industry developed as the result of these importations, and instead of figuring only as a stock joke for the funny papers, the goat will undoubtedly make his virtues known so widely as to command general interest. It requires very little investigation to become convinced that he is very far from a joke, when the relation of the animal to the poor is considered. And one of the strongest hopes of the promoters of goat-raising is that the poorer classes will come soon to recognize the facts and to see their opportunity. In this field, in the meantime, Uncle Sam's workers are again proving their effi
ciency, and this special development has special interest to the city dweller as well as to those who will be likely to take up the industry. For, in the light of recent scandals connected with milk supplies, families who live in the greater cities are eager to learn of anything which promises better conditions. New York and Chicago have both suffered epidemics of sickness chargeable to tainted milk and if the goat can furnish city children with a pure product its future is assured.
A curious use for the longest and finest of the fleeces clipped from Angora goats is in the making of wigs and false hair ornaments of various kinds. Fleeces of this kind, growing sometimes more than 20 inches in length, are easily salable at from $3 to $5 a pound. The fleece of a single doe, owned by a woman in New Mexico, was sold in New York to a manufacturer of wigs and toupees for $43. From the fleece of another goat the owner sold ten pounds for fifty dollars.