This week I’ve been bunny sitting my friend’s two angora bunnies in addition to keeping my own. That is three bunnies in the house (the cat is less than pleased).
My angora bunny, Winston, may look cute and cuddly but he’s a decent amount of work. While he is my pet I also harvest fiber from him. In addition to the regular pet care requirements (feed, water, exercise), an angora rabbit requires substantial grooming.
I groom Winston 1 to 2 times a week. Regular grooming consists of me holding him on my lap on top of a towel. He will tolerate this for about 45 minutes. I comb/cut out any mats and pluck out any loose fur. No matter how much I groom him he still gets matts – sometimes overnight. The twice a week grooming is generally reserved for when he is molting – 3 to 4 times a year. When he’s molting there’s a lot more fiber to remove so its easier to cover the kitchen island with a thick sheet and put him on top of there. I find I can pluck much faster with him on there.
When I pluck I immediately set aside or discard any matted or extremely short fibers (these could be kept for non-spinning purposes if one desired). Generally, the fibers I keep are three inches or longer. Ideally, I would keep them all lined up in the same direction but they don’t want to stay this way when stored and it makes grooming take longer so I don’t. Any bunny fluff I want to keep I store in a brown paper grocery bag. English Angora’s produce 10-16 ounces of fiber per year but Winston exceeds that at about 21-24 ounces per year. Below is from his most recent molting. There’s a bit more from other days but this is most of it.
I bought Winston from a local breeder I knew through a friend but they can also frequently be found at fiber fairs. Despite the amount of grooming required, having an angora rabbit as a pet is wonderful, especially if you’re a spinner.
PS – As to how well the bunnies get along, the boy bunnies do not like each other. Lots of thumping, discontent and, if allowed close enough to each other, biting. I keep them apart. Winston is seriously in love with my friend’s girl bunny though. The male hormones do take over so I have to keep a close eye on them if they’re out of their cages. Incredibly sweet kiss/sniff below.