Deakin University

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Development and growth of mohair fleeces from birth and relationships between skin follicle populations, mohair physical properties, animal size and fleece value

journal contribution
posted on 2020-08-01, 00:00 authored by Bruce McGregor
Knowledge of associations between skin follicle development in Angora goats and development of mohair fleeces is limited. These associations were investigated using data from a controlled nutrition experiment which had 3 levels of mid pregnancy nutrition (MPN) × 2 levels of postnatal nutrition during lactation (PNN), with single and twin litters. Skin biopsies were taken (birth, 114, 180, 420 days of age). Mid-side fibre growth and physical properties were determined 6 times between birth and 180 days of age. Birth coats were visually scored (1, straight; 5 curly). Fibre diameter distribution histograms were analysed at these ages. Skin area was measured. Total number of follicles and fibre growth per day determined. Fleeces were harvested at 7, 13 and 19 months of age and tested. Average fleece-free live weight (AvFFLwt) during fleece growing periods was determined. Data were analysed for treatment effects, correlations between attributes and multiple linear regression analysis performed to determine relationships between mean fibre diameter (MFD) at different ages with variables. AvFFLwt over the study within shearing intervals ranged from 5.8 to 37.6 kg. Density of secondary follicles (Ds) at 180 days of ranged from 10.8 to 34.0 mm−2, ratio of secondary to primary skin follicles (S/P) at 420 ranged from 4.8 to 14.1. Total fibre growth/day was related to the surface area (size) of kids, as surface area increased proportionally with live weight0.73. Smaller kids (female, twin reared) grew respectively 15–23% less fibre than larger male and 13–16% less than single reared goats. MFD was 27.8 μm at birth, then declined before increasing after 2 months of age. PNN had small effects on fibre diameter CV which was high at birth before declining rapidly during the first three months of life. There were negative correlations between both Ds and S/P ratio with: MFD; and the incidence of medullated fibres (patch fibre growth and fleeces at 13 and 19 months). The magnitude of these correlations increased with age. Birth coat score was negatively associated with fleece value. Predictions of MFD at shearing were related to log10AvFFLwt during the growth period, either Ds or S/P ratio, sex of kid, and a covariate term for the dam MFD. Greater Ds and S/P ratios greater than 9 were associated with finer mohair and more valuable fleeces.



Small ruminant research



Article number



1 - 12




Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal