The Effect of Nutrition on Mohair Production

The Angora goat has an exceptional ability to convert available food into fibre and it is deservedly considered to be the most efficient fibre-producing animal species

It appears from trials conducted that it is economically viable to give additional supplementary feed when conditions are poor (drought/winter). However when adequate nutrition is provided (Lucerne hay) additional feed does not appear to be of significant benefit to mohair production under intensive conditions.

This can be demonstrated in two trials where:

  1. Angora kids were fed a low Vs high nutrional diet (Badenhorst, Diedericks and Schlebusch)
  2. Angoras were fed chocolate maize at various levels when having access to ad lib lucerne


Mohair production from Angora kids fed a low Vs High level of nutrition

 (Badenhorst, Diedericks and Schlebusch)  


The investigation was carried out at the Grootfontein College of Agriculture over a period of six months. Forty 12-month-old Angora kids were divided into two groups in such a way that each group contained equal numbers of ewe and kapater kids. The kids were shorn just prior to the beginning of the experiment.

In this study Angora kids were divided into two groups..

  • HIGH level of Nutrition  received a pelleted ration consisting of 10 % mealies, 10 %t molasses and 80 % lucerne,
  • LOW level of Nutrition had 70% lucerne + 30% milled wheat straw.

Some of the more important results in the table below:


HIGH Nutrition

LOW Nutrition

Body weight


60% higher


Total Mohair production


78.7% higher



With the exception of style and evenness of fleece, nutrition appears to have a substantial effect on all the important quantitative and qualitative characteristics of mohair production.

Mohair production by ewes fed an ad lib lucerne diet compared to those receiving additional chocolate maize.

(P.R. King, V. Sumner, D. Wentzel, P. Schlebush and M.J. Herselman)

Each group (4 groups) was kept in a separate pen for the duration of the experimental period. Lucerne hay was given on an ad lib basis.

 The ewes were shorn at six and 12 months after the onset of the experimental period, while the kids were shorn at six months of age. The following mohair parameters were recorded for each goat.

  • The rate of supplementation had no significant effect on any of the mohair traits measured.
  • The average fibre diameter of 38,4 microns for the first clip and 37,7 microns for the second clip is at the upper limit of the range for adult mohair (34 to 38 microns). This is further proof of the high level of production maintained by the Angora goats fed lucerne hay and is probably the reason for no effect of supplementation on mohair production.


If we however consider Angora goats under veld conditions it is important to remember Loubser (1983) recorded an increase of 3,8 kg in body mass of Angora ewes grazing mixed karoo veld supplemented with 400 g chocolate maize/ewe/day, compared to a control group receiving no supplementation. Under veld conditions it is often physically impossible for the ewe to take in sufficient roughage to meet her nutritional requirements during the last third of gestation and during lactation (Van der Westhuysen et al. 1988). From this trial it seems that the lucerne fed in this experiment supplied sufficient nutrients to the ewes during periods of higher demand.

The rate of supplementation had no significant effect on any of the mohair traits measured. Compared to the national flock producing 4,2 kg mohair per adult goat per year, the ewes in this study produced 5,2 kg/ewe/year, which represents a 23,8 % higher production

Mohair production by kids fed chocolate maize Vs maize meal

Effect on mohair production

Kids were fed from weaning to 13 months on the following supplementary rations while on the veld.

1            CONTROL no supplement

2              300 g sjokolademielies (SM)

3              300 g mieliemeel & sout (MM)

4              600 g sjokolademielies (SM)

5              600 g mieliemeel & sout (MM)

One of the problems when supplementing feed while on the veld is that the kids do not utilise the veld as much. To determine the optimum amount of supplementation was the reason for the number of different rations in the trial.

  • At weaning there is no significant difference in mohair production.
  • At the second shearing the control group produced 0.22kg and 0.39kg less mohair than the 300g and 600g chocolate mielies group.
  • The 300 g SM-group produced 0,11 kg more clean mohair than the milie meel group.
  • The 600g chocolate mielie group produced 0.17kg and 0.28kg more mohair than the 300g SM and 600g MM group.


  • The both chocolate maize group produced more mohair. The 600g produced the most hari.




 Margaretha A Badenhorst, J C Diedericks & P A Schlebusch

Grootfontein College of Agriculture, Middelburg Cape, 5900

N M Kritzinger

Mohair Board, P O Box 2243, Port Elizabeth, 6056


Effect of level of supplementary feeding on Mohair production and reproductive performance

of kraal-fed Angora ewes

 P.R. King, V. Sumner, D. Wentzel, P. Schlebush and M.J. Herselman

Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute,

Private Bag X529, Middelburg (EC) 5900



P D Grobbelaar en C M M Landman *

Afdeling Diereproduksie

Landboukollege Grootfontein

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