Welcome to the Alpaca Bunny Smackdown. In the Bunny corner, the contributing bunny – Nougat! (applause, WOOTS, & cheering!) who is pictured below right. Weighing in at a feathery 3.5 lbs., Nougat’s favorite hobby is trying to hump the doe in the next cage. He likes chewing wooden blocks and dislikes having his belly groomed. Turn-ons: Well, he’s a rabbit. Everything turns him on.
Nougat’s owner, Lynn tells us about her rabbits:
Angora rabbits are kept for their luxurious fiber, as show animals, and for their pleasant personalities. Many people keep them as pets, sheared in a poodle cut. They come in a wide variety of colors such as white, fawn, black, chocolate, lilac, chinchilla, red, chestnut, agouti, tortes, broken, and more. There are satin, French, English, and giant german angoras and each have a slightly different texture. I chose to raise angoras for several reasons. Their fiber may be plucked or sheared and can be spun raw without further processing. Plucking the naturally shed wool is time consuming but it guarantees a minimum of guard hair and creates a higher quality fiber because there are no blunt shorn ends to itch you.
The wool has a micron count of 10-13 and lends itself to very fine spinning. It is easy to spin lace-weight on a drop spindle or wheel. In rabbits there isn’t an obvious divide in fiber quality like there is on other fiber animals but some breeders may divide between the back and side fiber, and belly and leg fiber. Angora felts easily and felted bits on the rabbit are sheared and discarded, or cut up and spread outside for birds to use in nesting.
There are many uses for angora rabbit wool. It is six to eight times warmer than wool and can be blended into other fibers at 10-30% for added warmth and softness. It is often spun straight by itself for use in infant knitted products. Because it felts easily it is ideal for needle felting or fulled items.
Items knit from the fiber often have a fuzzy halo to it. Blending the fiber can reduce this as well as reduce shedding and pilling in the finished garment.
These delightful animals are growing in popularity. I truly enjoy working with them and their fiber and sharing their beauty with others.
This post contributed by Lynn who blogs as FiberMama and Tweets as @SheepMama. She lives on a small farm in southern Ohio with her husband, three sons, kitten, Icelandic sheep, chickens, and of course, angora rabbits. In her spare time she enjoys spinning, knitting, needle felting, and the occasional healthy competition.