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Anyone had experience with Angoras?

RosemaryBunny

Young Bun
I'm considering getting an Angora bunny in the near future, as I am very 'into' wool, felting, natural dyeing, etc, but don't have room for sheep. However, I've read that they Angoras are difficult to care for. Has anyone ever had an Angora? Was taking care of it much different than a short-haired bun? TIA
 
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I've had some extreme lionhead type fur rabbits - some may have been angora X. One was definitely a cashmere type coat.
I would suggest that if you are asking if the coat is different from a standard shorthaired rabbit to care for, then you are going to be in for a bit of a shock...

The coat structure is totally different. Short hair is, well, short and hair with a small amount of soft undercoat. Angoras are at the other extreme - total fluff which matts very easily, especially in the hard to reach bits (ie armpits, trouser areas). It needs very careful and thorough grooming at skin level - so use a good comb, and work through in layers from the base. Even if the fur is shorn back eg for summer weather, or for 'harvest', it still needs at least a weekly and thorough going through for a competent groomer (and probably 2 or 3 times a week, especially while you are learning how to do it). The rabbit also needs to be amenable to this - it's very difficult to achieve if bunny won't co-operate and you very quickly end up with a coat that is totally out of control and may need professional removal.

Some matting / knotting is probably inevitable (eg during moult), so get some appropriate tools to cut these out. I use seam unpickers for really tight matting. Always push the point away from the skin and push outwards so you can't catch the skin. Otherwise, I find a small pair of very sharp, pointy scissors works - but again, you have to be VERY careful and always cut away from the skin. Sometimes it works to cut across the knot and tease the rest out with a comb or fingers, or cut through it in several places (from skin and outwards) to break up larger mats.

Very fluffy coats also pick up all sorts of debris and it will just form knots - so you have to think about the environment and bedding that you use. I would stick to hay with just newspaper underneath.

Don't forget to regularly comb through between the toes and the base of the back feet. Any knots or debris there will cause problems with walking, and can easily go un-noticed until there is a bigger problem. Many rabbits don't like their feet being groomed, so it's important to get them used to being handled and groomed from top to toe from an early age. It's also worth getting the breeder to show you how they groom their rabbits so that you can copy the same technique on your rabbit and stick to what they are used to.
 
I used to have a dwarf angora. I don't have much to add to what Shimmer said, but one thing that angora fur does it that it felts really easily, by which I mean that the fur will stick together in thick felted mats that can cover a significant area of their body, even all of their body, if you don't take care of their fur properly. This is really painful for the bunny , will cause skin damage, and will even restrict their ability to move. Having a long-haired angora bunny outside in the rain is asking for trouble. At the same time, having a long-haired angora bunny outside in the sun is asking for trouble as well, as their fur is very warm and they overheat easily. Honestly, I think it's in the bunny's best interest to keep their fur short all year round so it doesn't trouble them, they don't need lengthy brushing sessions, and they can keep themselves clean (very important to clean animals like bunnies). Of course, if you want wool you'd probably prefer to let it grow long before cutting it, but I personally don't think it's ethical to do that just because you want their fur.

I don't think angora rabbits should be bred, to be honest, as their fur causes them nothing but trouble. If you want wool, I'd just buy it from someone who treats their sheep well. You'd also have to consider if you can give this bunny all that they need: a large enclosure, a bunny friend, and vet care when they need it. From posts you've made in the past, it seems this is something your current bunnies aren't getting, so, and I don't mean this unkindly, you might want to focus on improving your current bunnies' situations rather than adding another bunny.
 
Growing up, I had what must've been American fuzzy lops, which are a wool breed but not as fluffy as angoras. It definitely takes a lot of maintenance to keep them mat free. Tbh you'd probably have more time to actually do felting etc if you got wool from sheep that are well cared for, since a wooly rabbit will take up a lot of free time.
 
I've had double maned lionheads with very thick fur and I'd give them a short groom every day to keep on top of things. If you leave it even a week you'll get tangles and matts. Also bear in mind that angora are quite a large breed unlike lionheads and will need more space.
 
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