Cashmere Goats – Fiber
Cashmere goats are raised primarily for their famously luxurious hair. More than half of the world’s Cashmere is exported from China. The Cashmere Goat is thought to have originated in the Himalayas. It is thought to have been distributed by Chinese merchants who brought them from the mountains on their return journeys in the 14th century. The remaining Cashmere comes primarily from the Middle East as well as New Zealand and Australia where they are an extremely popular livestock as well.
The first Cashmere goats ever imported into the US came from the southern hemisphere (New Zealand, Australia) fairly recently – as late as the late 1980s. Ever since that time, due to the popularity of Cashmere fiber, they’ve steadily increased in popularity among US breeders marking the creation of a US Cashmere market for the first time.
The Fiber of Kings
Cashmere has for ages been identified with royalty and luxury. It’s known as the fiber of kings and was even recorded as used in the construction of the Ark of the Covenant in the Bible. Their hair is valued for its luxurious and insulating properties. To this day, Cashmere has instant international recognition in both name and to the touch. This ensures Cashmere will remain in demand and that Cashmere goats are a good investment for goatherds for years to come.
Raising Cashmere Goats
Raising Cashmere goats is not terribly difficult. They are fairly healthy goats and require little care. They don’t particularly like to jump and don’t require anything more fancy for fencing than the normal standard fencing. They also require little to no shelter due to their insulating and thick hair which they shed in the summertime when they don’t need it.
Adults are typically sheared once each year for an annual yield of up to 2 ½ pounds of hair per goat. Their hair itself is made up of two different kinds of fiber: the more highly sought after Cashmere (about 20% of the hair) and guard hair (makes up the remaining portion).