My Expensive Hobby

I am frequently contacted by people want to either farm with wool rabbits, or have a business with wool rabbits. Unfortunately, wool (Angora) rabbits are a HOBBY, not a business, or farming enterprise. The input costs of housing, feeding, husbandry, spinning and manufacturing far outstrips you income.

You keep these rabbits because you love them, or because you enjoy working in the wool. I have an interest in colour genetics, and use my herd to experiment my breedings with. The wool harvest is therefore very secondary for me, and although I do sell all my wool, it covers only about a third of my costs. This is a very important aspect to consider before you go to the expense of setting yourself up.

Firstly a few facts and figures. This is not to scare you off or something silly like that, but I have seen people suffer a great deal of loss because they did not realise a very basic fact, that this is a hobby. The worst is that the rabbits suffer as a result, and as I have a policy of not buying back rabbits ( I will take them back at no cost and try to either re-home them, if you can no longer keep them, or make space for them myself), they suffer extreme neglect and often have to be put down. I of course breed to keep my 350 to 450 rabbits so have very little extra space.

The rabbits have to be housed, cared for and handled individually, and the facilities can be expensive to initiate. The feed has to be a special high protein pellet to get the best results from the wool, they do not produce wool on inferior feed, and of course having the wool spun is also very expensive, either to employ someone or to have it spun up for you to use. There is no central buyer as in sheepwool and mohair, so all the manufacturing must be done by yourself.

The only Angora enterprise I ever heard of as making a profit, was run by a dentist’s wife. He paid for all the expenses, and she did very well, pocketing all the income!!

Now having given you all the facts and figures (and scary stories) let us come down to basics. I am very willing to help someone out who wants to start out with angora rabbits, just because they love them and want to keep them as a hobby. I normally breed once a year, in late winter and spring, and so normally have young stock available for sale in about January/February. If you want to spin the wool yourself, and do not know where to start, I can also help with that if you need, as there is a very good South African company that import wheels etc. As always, wherever I can help to enable hobby rabbit breeders, I will 