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WHAT IS A PYGORA GOAT?
A Pygora is a fiber goat purposely bred to produce fine fiber for hand spinning. The Pygora goat produces a wonderful, lofty, soft, fiber that does not coarsen as the goat ages. Add in an affectionate, engaging personality, a manageable size, good health and fleece in a range of colors and you have the perfect fiber goat.
Pygoras were developed by Katharine Jorgensen in Oregon. The Pygora Breeders Association (PBA) was formed in 1987 and maintains the registry herd book. All Pygoras come from registered parents and can trace their lineage back to two specific parent breeds: American Angora Goat Breeders Association (AAGBA)-registered goats and National Pygmy Goat Association (NPGA)- registered goats.
The only goat that may bear the name ‘Pygora’ is a goat registered with the PBA. In addition, all Pygora goats must conform to the Pygora Breed Standard, which includes conformation, color/patterns and fleece characteristics.
Do the parent animals have to be registered to make a Pygora?
Yes, in order to register kids with the PBA, both parents must be registered Pygoras. Parents of first-generation goats must be registered with the National Pygmy Goat Association (NPGA) and the American Angora goat Breeders Association (AAGBA). No other registrations are accepted. In order to register kids from Pygora parents, both parents must be registered with PBA.
Does it matter which breed, Pygmy or Angora, is used as the doe?
No, either way a Pygora is the result. However, if a Pygmy doe is chosen, consideration must be given to her size to insure a trouble-free delivery. Kidding problems are infrequent, and the kids are very vigorous and usually up and nursing within 15 minutes.
What size are the kids and adults?
Pygora kids weigh about 5 lb. at birth. Adult does (female Pygoras) average 80-120 lb. and must be at least 18 in. tall. Adult bucks (male Pygoras) and wethers (neutered males) average 75-140 lb. and must be at least 23 in. tall. There is no maximum height restriction.
Must Pygoras be 50% Angora and 50% Pygmy?
No, a Pygora may contain up to, but not more than, 75% of one of the parent breeds.
Is the first-generation cross registerable as a Pygora?
Technically the first generation, or “F1”, is not a true Pygora, but a crossbreed. A crossbreed is not a breed until it breeds true. The PBA does register first-generation goats as F1s. They may be shown only in F1 classes and are not eligible for championships.
Is registration automatic for kids of registered animals?
No, to be permanently registered, a Pygora must have fleece. Preregistration is issued to a goat under 8 months of age. For permanent registration, a fleece sample and picture of the goat in fleece must be submitted with the application.
What colors are Pygoras?
Pygoras come in a wide range of colors: white, black, greys, caramels and browns. They often show two different colors throughout the year: a lighter, in-fleece color and a darker, out-of-fleece color. They may have a dark dorsal stripe, socks, crowns, ‘frosting’ on ears and noses, or facial masks. For details on recognized colors and patterns, please see the Pygora Breed Standard on the PBA website. The PBA accepts all Pygmy colors and their dilutions, as well as white. Color markings resembling other breeds are not acceptable.
What is the personality of the Pygora?
Pygoras are friendly, playful, curious goats. They have the curiosity of a cat and experience their world like a 2-year-old human; everything new must be tasted! They like to spend time with their people. It is important to note that, like any animal, a Pygora must be handled properly with love and respect for it to be a trusting, happy, sociable goat.
CARE OF THE PYGORA
Do Pygoras require any special care?
Pygoras tend to be very healthy goats as long as they receive proper care, including appropriate feed, such as good-quality hay and/or pasture and browse, access to free-choice goat minerals and clean, fresh water (consult with your veterinarian on nutritional requirements for your area and to develop a balanced ration for your Pygoras). Pygoras also need regular hoof trims and vaccinations and should be dewormed as needed. They breed and kid easily, and are naturally good mothers. To ensure a healthy goat, find a good goat veterinarian and establish a relationship with them before you need them.
Do Pygoras have horns?
Yes, Pygoras are naturally horned. The PBA allows goats to be shown with or without horns. The majority of PBA members disbud their animals at a young age for their own convenience (keeps animals from getting hung up in field fence, for example), or to provide a safer animal for 4-H projects. Whether or not to disbud is a personal preference and decision.
Can a person own just one Pygora?
Yes, but it is not recommended. Goats are herd animals and need company, preferably another goat. A single goat tends to be lonely, noisy and not much fun for themselves or their owners.
Do Pygora bucks smell?
Yes, all bucks smell, especially during the breeding season. A Pygora buck smells stronger than an Angora buck, but less than a Pygmy buck. When breeding season is over, Pygora bucks have very little scent.
When is breeding season?
Spring and fall – length of daylight is the major trigger for does to come into season. Being close to a buck also helps cause does to cycle. Each spring and fall, bucks start spraying themselves, putting on the cologne “guaranteed to get that special doe”. The average cycle for does is 18-23 days.
What is the gestation of Pygoras?
Pygoras have a gestation of 5 months, or 145-153 days.
How many times a year can you breed Pygora goats?
It is possible to get three kiddings in two years. This is hard on the doe, and should not be done often. Extra feed and care is a necessity for these does.
Can you milk Pygoras?
Yes, Pygoras give about 1 quart of milk a day.
ABOUT PYGORA FLEECE
Do all Pygoras have the same fleece type?
No – there are three different fleece types. No one type is “better” than the other is; they just have different characteristics. For details on the fleece types, please see Pygora Fiber Types.
Do you have to harvest the fleece?
Yes and no – If the fleece on a Pygora goat is not harvested, it will mat on the goat. Type-B and -C goats will shed (blow) their fleeces in the spring if the fiber is not removed. The partially-shed fleece can make a goat more susceptible to external parasites. Also, once a fleece is blown, it is no longer usable.
When do you shear?
Pygoras usually are sheared in the fall and spring, depending on the fleece and the weather. Check your Pygoras often, particularly the hindlegs and thighs, for signs that the fleece wants to mat. That is the time to shear if the weather allows.
Supplying freshly-shorn goats with coats, adequate bedding and shelter is critical. Many breeders shear before their does kid in late winter/early spring.
How do you harvest if you choose to comb or pluck?
Brush and/or blow out the goat’s fleece before harvesting to remove as much hay, seeds and debris as possible. Pygoras may be shorn using household scissors such as Fiskars (spring-loaded work well) or electric shears/clippers with an appropriate comb. Cleanliness and the absence of second cuts are important. Having a goat stand to hold the goat during shearing is very helpful.
To pluck or comb a fleece, check your goats in late winter/early spring to determine when they first start shedding their fleece. Use a plastic hairbrush, pet grooming brush or cotton hand card to comb out the fleece. To hand pluck, gently pull the fleece from the goat; it should come off easily! Goats generally do not shed all at once so should be combed or plucked every few days. Experiment to see what works best.
How much fleece is produced by a Pygora?
The amount of fleece a Pygora can produce depends on fleece type (type-C produces the least amount and type- A the greatest amount). Type As may produce as much as 3 lb. of raw fleece per shearing while type Cs may produce only 8 oz. of raw fiber. Type Bs average 1 lb. per shearing.
A raw fleece includes both desirable fiber and guard hairs. The guard hairs must be removed (this is called dehairing). The amount of guard hair removed from raw fiber by commercial dehairing can be as much as 40%. The better the ‘separation’ (or difference in fineness) between desirable fiber and guard hairs, the easier a fleece is to dehair and the better the final product. One thing to consider when buying a type-B or type-C Pygora is to select goats who have good separation based on a fiber test.
How do you prepare the fleece for spinning?
There are several steps to preparing Pygora fleece for spinning: washing, dehairing and combing/carding. For details, please see Fiber Preparation or the downloadable brochure, Fleece Facts.
What is the spun fleece like?
When spinning Pygora, you can spin it soft and fuzzy for a fluffy item such as a hat or mittens, or spin it more firmly for good stitch definition and a stronger wearing yarn. When spun worsted, type-A fleeces produce a wonderful smooth yarn with a silky luster. Type-B fleeces usually are finer than type-A fleeces and can be spun into a lustrous, soft, worsted yarn or spun woolen and fulled (slapped against a hard surface to bring out the fluff) for a soft, warm yarn with a halo. Type-C fiber, the finest of the three types, is perfect for spinning into a fine, delicate, soft lace yarn.