The Altai Mountain Goat – Wool
The Altai Mountain Goat is a breed of wool goat originating in the former Soviet Union. The Altai Mountain Goat was bred on various farms of the Gorno-Altai Region in the former USSR. The goat is productive all year and is kept on pasture all year-round to graze.
The Altai Mountain Goat is the product of breeding between the Don Goat and local goats of the area.
Altai Mountain goats are relatively consistent in color, size and wool production. They are renowned for having a strong constitution and excellent adaptability to severe conditions. The Altai Mountain Goat is able to fatten quickly during summer.
Altai Mountain Goats have a relatively high weight when compared to other breeds of goat with a size advantage of 10 kg when compared to local goats. The Altai Mountain Goat is a multipurpose goat as it also demonstrates good meat qualities and exhibits a long wool coat. Altai Mountain goats are superior to local goats in wool production, producing 3 to 4 times the wool yield.
Live weight of males are between 65-70 kg and that of females, 40-45 kg. Like local goats, they mature slower than other global breeds and grow until the age of about 5 years.
Wool of Altai Mountain goats has high technical qualities and is a valuable commodity for the textiles industry. The guard hair is black and dark grey in color and generally long. Laboratory data shows that the stretched length of wool fibers in pedigree goats is 7.5-10 cm. The average diameter is 16-17 µm in adult goats and 15-16 µm in juvenile animals. Guard-hairs diameter is 75-90 µm. Wool content in the fleece of pedigree animals is 65-70%. Uniformity between them is not greater than 10%. Wool yields are 600-900 g for males and 450-600 g for females. Fiber length is 8-9 cm for both.
Altai Mountain Goats can be shorn year-round as it does not deteriorate of the quality of the wool. For Altai Mountain goats, the breaking length of wool (with 16-20 µm diameter) is between 9-9.5 cm. As a comparison, Merino Sheep wool up to 23 µm in diameter is considered strong if its breaking length is greater than 7 cm.
Current breeding efforts with the Altai Mountain goat are directed to three key properties of the Altai Mountain Goat;
- Enlarging the pedigree goat population
- Increasing wool production
- Maximizing live weight without losing adaptability to the special conditions of Siberia.
Altai Mountain Goat pedigrees are raised for sale to other farms throughout the region. This breeding program is mainly carried out in the Kosh-Agach district and in the state-controlled farm in the Shebalin district. In recent years the state controlled farm has made significant progress with raising young pedigree goats. In 1983 the reported goat population increased from 7,700 in 1970 to 9,900.