Beacon Bend Alpacas is a fusion of responsible stewardship, love of animals and an artistic creativity in textile design.
Please check out our new online catalog of fiber, yarn and spinning batts at: beaconbendcalpacas.com/Store.
You can also buy our yarns, fleeces and other handmade products at our online store at cashmerebunny.etsy.com.
Here are some images of our recent English Angora litter as they change in the first two weeks of life.
The kits don't do much during this time except eat and sleep. Around day 12, their eyes open, and then several days later they start to come out of the nest to chase their mama around.
The mama, our Buffy, is actually one we had to supplement after she was born. Fortunately, we don't have to do this for Buffy's kits as she has plenty of milk and has been very dilligent about keeping her babies tummies full and fat.
Can you spin a yarn that won't shed or fall apart using only 100% angora rabbit?
Cathy made some interesting observations about this recently:
"Any fiber will shed a little if its staple length is under 2 inches. It doesn't matter if it is 100% angora or any other fiber, it is the staple length that counts.
"If you are using a 3" or longer fiber, you can easily hand spin it and it will hold together. If the angora fiber is shorter than 1 inch, it can be combined with other material for spinning and you will probably get some shedding. The imported white German angora roving has a short fiber (I have been told), so I would expect that to do some shedding.
"I attached two photos of my angora & merino wool blankets-in-progress. The fuzziest blanket has angora rabbit fur 1" long. This one will do some shedding (it is a special order from my customer's pet rabbit). The second and lighter colored blanket-in-progress uses a longer staple fiber of angora & wool. It isn't as fuzzy looking and it won't shed. Both are equally plush. I attached a photo of 6" angora rabbit locks to show what premium angoar fiber looks like.
I would recommend a 3" staple and above for spinning a 100% angora yarn."
When we gather angora fiber, we separate the longer fibers - our 100% angora spinning fiber is at least 3 inches long, and we keep the shorter fibers for blending.
When Cathy handed out carrots in the rabbitry this morning, she noticed that Mega Red didn't eat his. She asked if he was sick, and I said that I thought he was just uncomfortable because he needed to be combed.
So we combed him together. We were able to gather an ounce and a half of 4-inch staple fiber. Then he let me know it was time to go back to the cage by climbing up the front of my shirt and perching on my shoulder.
I checked on him later. He ate his carrot.
Here is a picture of Mega Red bunny when he was a tiny kit. He is one of the bucks we've used a lot for our satin angora breedings, and we've also arranged breedings with him to other rabbitries.
He has a nice coat in now, and I'm thinking it's time to harvest it. I'll comb him instead of waiting for Cathy to do it, as he can get a little wild when he thinks it's time to go back to his cage.
He's a good breeding buck, straight to business, and he enjoys the work.