While it may look like a fantasy, it is possible to keep angora rabbits for wool and make a profit. French Angora Yarn goes for $15 per each yarn!
Plan and know your expectations
If you intend to begin breeding Angora bunnies or any other animal, you need prior planning to ensure you have the time to take good care of your animals, as well as space, money to invest and many other factors.
Besides the planning, you should know your expectations as one Angora doe can give birth to as little as two angora rabbit babies or as many as 15. Are you ready to accommodate them?
Remember, they will need to be groomed for two months, and they will need their cages or home when they are about five months. The good news is, Angora usually have smaller litters, typically they have 3 to 5 kits. However, it is possible to get up to 10 or more.
Therefore, have a plan for your breeding, a program and always use purebreds bunnies.
Decide on the breed type and colors you need
Secondly, decide on the breed you want as well as colors. There are several breeds of the Angora rabbits with most common ones being the English, French, Satin, German and Giant Angoras. Also, other less popular types include:
All these bunnies come in different colors accepted by the ARBA or any other recognized organization. This is important if you are breeding yours for the profits of its wool or for shows.
Also, each of these breed types has its features including facial features, wool texture, length, body types, and so on.
In areas that experience the four seasons, most angora rabbit breeders prefer to breed them during winter or spring and not summer since summer has higher temperatures that may not be very favorable unless you have temperature-controlled enclosures.
How much does a doe rabbit cost?
Expect to spend anything from $50 to $100+ for a doe with pedigree papers, and you might not get it near you. Rabbits do not get shipped.
When can they be bred?
Always breed rabbits that are in perfect health and correct weights according to their breed type. Those with conditions such as congenital eye problems and malocclusion of teeth should not be bred.
Does should not be less than six months and should show signs they are ready to breed and be fully mature. A little older is always better.
On the other hand, bucks can breed from the age of 6 to 7 months. Large Angora breeds may take up to 12 months to be ready for breeding.
The breeding – mating, kindling
Breed after molting when their fur is short and trim the excessive fur around its genital and belly areas. This will ensure easier mating.
Short fur will also make breastfeeding easier, and ensure that the doe does not have very long fur, which she might pluck and use to line her nest box. Long fur is not safe for kits as it may tangle them, i.e., it can strangle the kitten’s neck, legs or trap their paws. This can cut the blood supply to these areas.
Do not forget to ensure wool does not bind the buck's genitals.
On the issue of plucking or clipping its fur before mating, some sources recommend against this habit (source - Angorarabbit.com)
During plucking, a dog comb can be of help in brushing and removing loose wool.
It is recommended you take the doe to the buck’s cage, to reduce the buck’s attention going to the doe’s cage. The buck might notice the doe, ignore or chase it.
During mating, expect the doe to be mounted from the rear side by the buck and after successful breading, he may roll to the side and scream. Young bucks may try to mount the doe from the head.
In cases where your doe lies flat on the cage, mating may be unsuccessful. Most experienced rabbit breeders encourage you to place your hand beneath the doe’s belly, from the front side (head) and raising its hips slowly to make the tail go over her back.
In case you need to have a larger litter size, you can repeat the exercise after 24 hours. Don’t fear using the same buck since it can be used up to 7 times in one week without affecting its sperm count.
Does never ovulate, until they have been bred and it is possible but rare for both the eggs of the doe to be fertilized, a case which the doe will give birth in two different days, i.e., the kits will be born after 28-31 from the time you bred the doe.
Like any other rabbit breed, their Angora rabbit’s gestation period is between 31 and 33 days.
Preparing for angora baby rabbits – Kits
Ensure you have a nest box made of wood or metal with a solid base so that it does not hurt your kits’ legs. Wooden nests are preferred since they don’t get too cold during winter. Typical width length and height dimensions will depend on the size of your angora rabbit.
The nest box can have pine shavings, followed by hay or other bedding materials. Clean them regularly.
Kindling and caring for Angora rabbit babies
On the 28th day after mating, put your nest box in the does cage, preferably on the backside of the cage for the doe to start making the next or wait until it kindles then begin building the nest. Some may pull their fur while making the nest.
After kindling, count the number of kits, remove the afterbirth or kits that may have died. Note that some do may show some aggression.
Afterward, be checking the kits to ensure they are warm (you can add some fur you kept for this purpose) and ensure their paws are not caught by their mother’s long fur as they spin around.
While getting out of the nest or getting in, the doe may injure or kill the kittens. Some does also eat their babies if they are scared.
During winter, ensure the enclosure is warm enough, and the kits do not fall out of the nest box as they may freeze to death or be very cold. Warm them with your skin, a heating pad, low setting on a blow-dry among other methods.
To help increase milk flow, give does raw pressed oats, and gradually increase the food you give them. Once the baby rabbits are about 8 to 9 weeks, you can slowly begin weaning them. This should be done by removing their mother and leaving the kits alone.
Breeding and rearing angora rabbits for profits
If you are breeding Angora rabbits for profits, its wool goes for about $10–16 per ounce, and “meat is selling locally for $2.50/lb. One rabbit can gross you over $500 per year if you consider the fur from its offspring and the meat, notes toughnickel.com.
While doing your calculation, include the cost of equipment, labor, feed and packaging supplies for your raw wool.
Wait until the baby rabbits are at least ten weeks before selling them as recommends the British Rabbit Council.
However, to be successful, in your angora rabbit business ensure you have not only the angora rabbit wool buyers but also those who will be buying their meat.