Angora Goats and The Environment
Nurture Natural Environments
Fiber animals are not adaptable to unnatural confinement where odors and air quality contaminants can be a problem. Grazing animals have very low odor production compared to concentrated animal enterprises. The Angoras use their “goat houses” minimally for protection from rain only, and so the soft straw bedding is easily composted and spread, adding to the fertility of the soils without causing environmental impacts.
Grazing animals are considered an aesthetic attraction and bring positive accolades to agriculture from the general public. They add scenic beauty for those visiting the region. Educating the public about the animals’ ecologic value and their production nurtures environmental awareness and consciousness.
The goats’ pasture is permanent sod, reducing organic matter losses and eliminating carbon release caused by tilling or bare soil. Rotational grazing evenly distributes animal waste, providing the nutrients plants need to thrive, in a readily accessible and visually inoffensive form.
Synthetic fibers are chemical intensive and/or petroleum-based. Fibers from plant sources require high energy and chemical inputs in their production and processing. Small fiber-producing ruminants are a unique, renewable, sustainable source of superior fiber that reduces the need for energy and chemical-intensive production of plant and synthetic fibers.
The energy from the sun is converted by photosynthesis to forage, and goats and sheep convert this rapidly renewable feed source into usable fiber that requires minimal chemical or energy intensive processing.
Ruminants such as sheep and goats are able to digest cellulose which is indigestible by people; they are not competing for human food. These animals consume forages; often they harvest forage not available for other livestock by grazing inaccessible or otherwise unusable land.
Healthy, Soil, Food, Animals, People
Perennial crop and grazing systems of diverse plant species improve soil biology and soil quality. Properly managed small ruminants do not create large areas of denuded soils, their grazing habits create attractive and plant healthy forage heights that protect both the soil and plants from drought, disease, and parasites. It’s a natural ecosystem that is good for all that inhabit and benefit from it!
Low Carbon Footprint
Small grazing animal enterprises reduce carbon release into the atmosphere, reducing global warming. Perennial grazing systems sequester carbon-adding organic matter to the soil.
Fossil fuel consumption in management and production is minimal compared to concentrated animal enterprises as well as commodity crop production. These animals harvest their own feed very effectively and in doing so, dramatically reduce the need for cosmetic or management mowing with machinery. The energy consumption of animal fiber harvesting and processing is very low relative to other sources of fiber.
Animal Health and Well-Being
Air quality for the animals is of minimal concern when animals are not concentrated. Proper pasture rotation provides top quality forage for the goats and protection from disease and parasites, promoting health. And the diverse natural topography of the farm provides an appropriate environment for growth, development, and play!
The small ruminants range compatibly with Integrated Pest Management birds-guinea hens, peacocks, and chickens- for which the guardian dogs for the herds or flocks also provide protection, while the birds provide the goats and the dogs with protection from ticks and fleas. Goats offer effective Integrated Pest Management control of invasive plants in their pasture. Angora goats’ favorite foods are the noxious multiflora rose and Canada thistle. Well-managed sheep and goats readily graze weeds, minimizing the spread of weed seeds. This symbiosis provides a safe, comfortable, and low stress natural environment for all the animals on the farm.