GOATS have a lot going for them, according to Roger Sawley of Kardella, which is why he has expanded his herd to 65 head since starting out with goats in 2008.
For one, they eat a lot of the rubbish around the farm that other stock won’t touch and they are a very versatile animal, producing a fine fleece twice a year, valuable breeding stock where his chosen breed, Angora goats are concerned, and the world’s most popular meat, eaten by 63 per cent of the globe’s population.
“But we don’t breed goats for meat. In fact we don’t sell them for meat production at all. We’re a bit picky about who we sell them to in that regard,” said Roger at the Foster Show last Saturday.
“Actually there aren’t that many Angora goats left in Australia and part of what we are trying to do is support the expansion of the gene pool for Angora goats and we are mostly selling to other breeders,” he said.
The other half of the Della Downs Heritage Angora Goats operation is Roger’s partner Lill Roberts and it’s through Lill’s efforts that they sell and process the fleeces; putting it out on the market as raw fibre, washed fibre, dyed fibre, and carded and spun yarn to be used by knitters and others.
An accomplished spinner and knitter herself, Lill also makes a range of finished products for sale as well. It’s one of the great pleasures of the work to see the fleeces your own goats produced worked into lovely pieces of clothing and other items.
And why a black Angora?
“We’ve been concentrating on colour and we’re hoping to produce a pure black buck. One was sold for a lot of money in the US recently. They produce a valuable fleece.”
Roger already has several coloured Angora goats, one of them born black but since taking on a brindled look, which would nonetheless make for a stunning knitting yarn.
Again though, as with all small-scale farming operations, the success relies heavily on the ability of the operators to do their own sales and marketing.
Why the colour black has got Roger’s goat