The Pygora goat is a breed developed and registered in Oregon by Katherine Jorgensen. She wanted an animal that would produce fine fiber for hand spinning. The Pygora is a cross between the Pygmy, a goat with short, soft down and the Angora, a goat with long, silky fleece. The Pygora breed may contain up to 75% of one of the parent breeds.
Pygora does weigh from 65 to 75 pounds, while bucks and wethers weigh 75 to 95 pounds. Most kids are about five pounds at birth, depending on which breed is used as the doe.
The Pygora Breeders Association (PBA) was formed in 1987. The PBA has minimum height requirements of 18 inches for does, and 23 inches for bucks. There is no maximum height restriction.
Most Pygoras produce six ounces to two pounds of hair per shearing. Below are three different fleece types:
- Type “A”: (Angora type) —A long, lustrous fiber up to six inches long, hanging in long, curly locks. The hair coat is not obvious on a type “A” animal. This fiber is very fine mohair. Some type “A”, “F1” Pygoras are single coated. These animals must be shorn. Many Type “A” goats are sheared twice per year. The fibers are typically less than 28 microns (µm) in diameter.
- Type “B”: (Blend type) —A blend of the Pygmy goat undercoat, which is cashmere and the Angora mohair. It is between three and six inches long with a nice crimp (fiber waviness). The second coat is usually obscured by the type “B” fleeces that are three to six inches long. Type “B” can either be lustrous (shiny) or have a matte (dull) finish. This fleece type is the most common. These goats may be shorn, combed, or plucked. The fibers are usually less than 24 µm in diameter.
- Type “C”: (cashmere type) —A very fine fiber with no luster and length of one to three inches. The hair coat looks very coarse in comparison to the other types. Type “C” can be acceptable commercial cashmere. These goats may be shorn or combed. The fiber is less than 18.5 µm in diameter.
True Type “A” animals must be shorn. Types “B” and “C” will shed out (blow) their fleeces in the spring if the fiber is not removed. All types will mat if left too long on the animal.
Little or no lanolin exists in Pygora fleece, so care must be taken not to over-spin it. It blends very well with wool and silk. Pygora fleece takes beautifully to natural, commercial, or Kool-Aid™ dyes.
Reference: Pygora Breeders Association
Pictures from Hollyhock Hollow Ranch, Santa Margarita, CA, Jill Gallagher, photographer (email@example.com)