Coats/Rowan takes animal welfare issues very seriously. It is important to Coats/Rowan that we source our fiber from suppliers who adhere to our corporate responsibility and animal welfare principles, to ensure the ethical production of fibers.
It is believed that the angora rabbit originated in the Carpathian Mountains, or on the Black Sea or in the district of Ankara, hence the name. The Romans were the first, around 100 B. C. to tame the angora rabbit and obtain the hair. In the time of Henry VIII, the rabbit was so highly regarded that it was described as “Silk English Hare”. In 1777 the rabbits were exported from the United Kingdom to Franconia/Germany and from there the breed spread to Saxony, Slesia, Vienna and Prague.
The Hair (or Fibre)
The hair is made of keratin and can absorb water up to 38% of its weight without appearing wet. The soft hand is due to the very smooth surface of the cuticle and the lightness and insulation are given by the cell-medulla of the fiber. Angora rabbits are always kept in optimal conditions as this means the fiber has few impurities.
There are 4 basic breeds (English, French, German and Satin) which form 6 breeding groups:
English Angora - small-sized and weighs from 2 to 3.5 kg and it is usually kept as a pet. It should be brushed or combed twice a week and produces only 200-400 gr. of hair per year.
French Breed - until 1970 France was the largest producer of angora hair and traditionally, processed by the farmers themselves. Large in size (3.5 to 4.5 kg), and particularly suited for the production of knitwear.
German Breed - widespread in China, Chile and in Argentina this breed is large in size (3.5 to 5.5 kg) producing more than 1500 grams of hair per year.
Satin Angora - the least common among angora breeds it has a large amount of coarse spiky and very shiny hair, with a small amount of fine undercoat hair. It is of medium size from 3.5 to 4 kg.
Giant Angora - similar to the German breed of medium-large size (4 to 5 kg), it must be shorn every 90 days because it has a partial molt. The most important giant breeds are the French, German and Chinese.
Chinese Breed - this breed is a hybrid obtained from the German breed.
Hair grows about 6-8 mm per week and it reaches its maximum length in about 60 days. In general, collection systems include: plucking, combing and shearing:
Plucking - is the process of pulling out the moulted fur. This is not a process we endorse.
Combing - during the natural molt, manual hair removal is a typical practice. Combing has to be repeated several times for several days although it is a very expensive procedure but the resulting hair is of excellent quality.
Shearing - is the most used practice, with low costs and it is done 4-5 times a year. We ensure this is done using special safety scissors.
Rowan Angora Haze
Our Angora is sourced from small farms. They are not 'Factory Farms', but rather small holdings that have a few tens (only in rare cases a few hundred) of rabbits. As there are only kept in smaller collections, there is no 'breeding system' in place.
The rabbits are kept in netted enclosures, and are fed with fresh grass.
Rowan’s Angora Haze is from French and Chinese breeds of Angora rabbits. Our Angora is collected by a mix of combing (for better quality fibre), and shearing (for quantity). When sheared, the farmers use special safety scissors that can not harm the rabbit. The fibres are mixed before dying and spinning.
In the collection methods we endorse, the Angora rabbits come to no harm and are still alive and in good health after collection.