Cashmere Goats

Episode 73
For the Love of Goats

Cashmere Goats featured image

Recently the Cashmere Goat Association voted to make Cashmere goats a breed. Prior to that vote, a “cashmere” goat was just a goat with a specific type of cashmere fiber. Although all goats have a cashmere undercoat, cashmere goats must have fiber of a specific length, and they must produce at least 2 ounces per year.

In this episode I’m having a conversation with Christine Hulse, secretary of the Cashmere Goat Association, talking about the breed standard, as well as the fiber standards. Christine talks about why people raise Cashmere goats, how to harvest the fiber, and what you can do with their fiber.

Learn more about Christine Hulse online at…

Hulse Hill Farm Website
Hulse Hill Farm Instagram

Cashmere Goats at Hulse Hill Farm
At Hulse Hill Farm

Cashmere Goat Association’s Website and Social Media Channels

Cashmere Goat Association Website
Cashmere Goat Association (CGA) Youtube Channel
Cashmere Goat Association Facebook Page
Cashmere Goat Association Instagram

Cashmere Goat Association  booth at the New York Sheep & Wool Festival
Cashmere Goat Association  booth at the New York Sheep & Wool Festival

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For the Love of Goats mug

For more information on other goat breeds:

Transcript

Introduction 0:03
For the love of goats! We are talking about everything goat. Whether you’re a goat owner, a breeder, or just a fan of these wonderful creatures, we’ve got you covered. And now, here is Deborah Niemann.

Deborah Niemann 0:19
Hello, everyone, and welcome to today’s episode. This is going to be a real treat today, because we’re going to be talking about Cashmere goats, which is something that most people really don’t know anything about—other than the fact that maybe you’ve had a cashmere sweater once. So today, we are joined by Christine Hulse, who is the secretary of the Cashmere Goat Association. Welcome to the show, Christine.

Christine Hulse 0:41
Thanks for having me.

Deborah Niemann 0:42
I’m so excited to learn more about this, because I know when I first got interested in goats, I was kind of confused by the fact that, like, you hear about all these different goat breeds, and then: “Well, and then there’s Cashmere, but they’re not really a breed.” And I was always kind of like, “What do you mean, they’re not a breed? What are they if they’re not a breed?” So, what were Cashmere goats? If not a breed?

Christine Hulse 0:42
Well… And you’ll still find people that say that. Like, “Cashmere is not a breed.” You’ll look at some of the sites with Mongolian Cashmere and China, and they’ll say “It’s not a breed.” And the reason that they’re saying that is because they really are genetically a compilation of all different types of goats. And I think people who are familiar with goats all know that their goats have that undercoat fuzziness to them, and they wonder, “Is that cashmere?” And in some regards, it is. It has a base of being cashmere. But, what has happened with cashmere is there’s been a standard. So, people haven’t really talked about it as a breed. And CGA—or the Cashmere Goat Association—has now taken it to the next level in developing a breed. But, you were more likely tohear them talk about a standard of “What does it take for my goats’ fiber to be cashmere?”

Christine Hulse 1:50
But, it really is an eclectic type of goat with, lots of times… I mean, if we did a DNA test on some of these goats, they come from all over. But now, with the breed standard, they’re being bred specifically for the cashmere.

Deborah Niemann 2:04
Okay. And then, how did goats get classified as Cashmere, if it wasn’t from their breed?

Christine Hulse 2:12
Right, right. So, you know, goats typically coming from Mongolia and China have had to have a standard. And the standard is what basically ties right into our breed standard with the Cashmere Goat Association, which is what we’ve developed. So, such as the length of the fiber has to be exactly over an inch and a quarter. So, when it’s measured, it has to be an inch and a quarter or above for length. Volume, you have to comb out at least 2 ounces of fiber to be a Cashmere goat. The big one is the micron. You know, the micron, everybody who knows fiber talks about “micron.” The micron has to be under 19 microns to be a Cashmere goat. And then, also, the volume. The coverage, we talk about. How much of the goat has coverage in the fiber. And the biggest thing, too, is also what they call “differentiation,” which is, when you see a goat, can you tell the difference between the guard hairs and the cashmere when you see it, and when you comb it? And that comes into the milling process, because those fibers have to be separated.

Christine Hulse 3:16
So, we have all of those standards that have always kind of been there in the business of cashmere, whether you’re in a big mill in China or in Mongolia, and the U.S. has followed along with that as well. Believe it or not, the Australians have a great market on cashmere; Australian cashmere is very good. And they have grown that market significantly more recently in the last 10 to 15 years, taking off from their wool market. So, the standard has always been there. But now… I don’t know if you want me to go into the breed. Of how we went from a standard, basically, with the Cashmere Goat Association, and how that evolved into a breed.

Deborah Niemann 3:54
Yeah, absolutely. That’s how I got interested in doing this episode, because somebody contacted me and said, “Hey, did you hear? The Cashmere Goat Association just voted to make Cashmere a breed?” And I was like, “Ooh, that sounds like something we should talk about on the show!”

Christine Hulse 4:08
Yeah. So, the history of Cashmere is—and again, there are still many people on this earth that have made way more history with Cashmeres than I do. Joe David Ross over in Texas, who is a retired veterinarian, was, way back at the beginning, who helped bring in Cashmeres in the 80s from Australia through Terry Sims and some of the other pioneers, when everyone thought that they were going to corner the market on cashmere—similar to, maybe, the alpacas—and make a lot of money off of cashmere and bringing it to the U.S. And so, they spent a lot of money on these animals—individual animals and herds—and you can go back and see in the 80s, farms were advertising selling animals for $10,000, $8,000, for a good doe. And they had done all the fiber testing; they were pulling off of what the Australians were doing with their fiber, and also copying some of the mohair standards at that point, too. A lot of them had dual interests; they were mohair breeders, and they were also cashmere breeders.

Christine Hulse 5:04
So, these Cashmere goats showed up in the U.S. in the 1980s. And, they became really rooted in some really big farms throughout the United States—which is interesting. From Maine, all the way to California, they were scattered. And then, sometime around… Right at the 90s, when they were building these farms, and they were trying to figure out harvesting this cashmere, “What do we do with it now? Could we go commercial with it?” And there were some attempts in ’89, ’90, to do something called “American cashmere” and get it into the commercial end. But the processing and the milling became a big stumbling block with cashmere in the U.S. And at that time, Mongolia and China had just doubled their production on cashmere. And they just pushed the U.S. idea, as far as us being able to get cashmere into people’s hands on a more commercial level, right out the window. So from there, it became more of a cottage industry, a niche industry. So, with more fiber enthusiasts, and in the hands of farmers that were putting it more into yarn lovers and having it processed in your small mills. And that happened in the 90s.

Christine Hulse 6:10
So, looking back: We had great genetics; we were meeting the standard; our goats basically came from a place where they had standards and met all of those standards. So genetically, we had it all there. And testing-wise, people were having their fiber all tested, and people were buying bucks that had been tested, and we were what you would call “breeding up” for the best fiber and best animal.

Christine Hulse 6:32
CGA, part of our judging, like many, many breeds, is that when we go into a show, or to evaluate any animal in our registry—and I’ll talk more about the registry in a little bit—it’s 50% based, our score, on the body, body conformation in general, and then 50% of the fiber quality goes into our final judging score. So, we had these animals that had great bodies, had great cashmere. And then a couple years ago, we did a conference in Italy. We did an international conference, CGA, and we brought in—that was 2017, I think. We brought in Loro Piana; we had breeders from Australia, New Zealand, China, Mongolia, I mean, Italy—all over. And we started discussing more the international picture of cashmere. And I think, for us, we realized, “Wow, we actually are dead-on.” We are having our fiber tested, we have all the data on it, we have good numbers, we had really good length. I mean, if you want to look, it wasn’t a competition, but we certainly liked going in and having our length come out way ahead of some of the other countries that were there. And we got to share our stories, as far as breeding and where we were going with cashmere.

Sister Mary Elizabeth (a mentor to many in the cashmere goat world)  and Christine’s son Matthew Hulse

Christine Hulse 7:45
And so, we came back, and there had been, with CGA, for a while, talk of a registry to help basically, you know, keep what we’ve developed over the years and not lose it. And that’s really what you want with a breed. Genetically, you want to keep what you are developing in the end to meet a standard, so that people can go to that pool and know that they’re getting animals that are genetically, you know, sound to produce good cashmere. And so, that’s what came into our registry and our breed standard. We started to develop that, and we put some money into developing a database for the registry, and we are slowly building that.

Deborah Niemann 8:23
Okay. And you said that you had good “length.” Do you mean the length of the cashmere?

Christine Hulse 8:29
Right. You know, one of the things that, at this conference in Italy, was that—and this is in many, many articles about Mongolia and China—were having a problem with their, you know, their goats in the 80s of just being in one spot, grazing in one spot, and you know, basically making it a desert. And the result of that was it affected their goats, even genetically, in causing shorter fiber, right? Which, when you knit up or do anything, pills. So, companies like J. Crew and other companies were complaining, and the U.S. fiber—our fiber—was some of the longest fiber there. That, when you get it into a knitting product or whatever, it’s not going to pull apart; it’s going to be stronger. So yeah, we ended up with some really, really good length. It’s not untypical for U.S. cashmere in a judging platform to come up 2 inches to a little over 2 inches, sometimes, with the length of the cashmere.

Deborah Niemann 9:18
Wow, that is amazing! So, I know when you look at who raises sheep, a lot of people who raise, like, heritage breeds of wool sheep happen to be spinners and knitters themselves. Is that also true with Cashmere? Or no, just everybody and anybody is raising Cashmere?

Christine Hulse 9:37
I think, yeah. No, Cashmere people are definitely fiber people. You know, a lot of times there’s a whole group that love, of course, to blend it for spinners. They love to blend it and create their own fiber mix, and so we do sell a lot. A lot of farms do sell to that kind of niche market of spinners as well. And then, some have their yarn made into the 100%, but more and more we’re finding people are looking for blends with cashmere, maybe not always 100%.

Cashmere Goat hair

Deborah Niemann 10:04
Yeah. I would think that, you know, if 2 ounces an animal is the minimum… I mean—this is why a cashmere sweater is so expensive. You know, like, when you’re looking at mohair or wool, you’re talking about pounds of fiber coming off of one animal.

Christine Hulse 10:20
Yeah.

Deborah Niemann 10:20
And I always knew the amount of cashmere was measured in ounces, but I didn’t know it was only 2 ounces. Like, that’s even less than I thought. Wow.

Christine Hulse 10:29
Well, that’s the standard. Again, in the U.S., because we really want our goats to be covered, you know, from neck to back, most of the people are getting anywhere from 2 to 6 to even 8. So, you know, again, that’s part of our breed standard, is we’re trying to get animals that, you know, you don’t have to have ten animals to get a certain amount of fiber; you can have the same amount of fiber off of four animals if you have a good breed standard and you follow it.

Deborah Niemann 10:56
Wow. That’s really cool. So, what is the breed Association doing now? You mentioned that you have shows, and are you also registering goats?

Christine Hulse 11:05
We are. So, if you go to the CashmereGoatAssociation.org, you’ll go on, and you’ll have a section there with the registry. There’s a ton of information. And we’ve started doing a lot of educational webinars on goats as well that you can find on our YouTube station. But, you will go in, and you can either search a goat by farm, if you’re like, “I live in New York. I want to know what Cashmere goats are in New York to go maybe reach out to breeders.” You can do it through your state—or a state—to find breeders. If you’re looking for a buck, let’s say, you could search “buy a buck.” If you’re looking for a certain kind of buck, “white,” or, you know, “fiber.” So, there’s a lot of different ways to search the registry.

Christine Hulse 11:45
And you can also register your goat. Someone may say, “Well, what do I need to do? I think my goat has cashmere. I think it’s a Cashmere goat.” Which, believe it or not, opening up the registry, we realized too, like, some of the Spanish meat goats are getting tested right now to see if they meet the criteria. And I wouldn’t be surprised if some do meet the standard to be, you know, because they do have a basis in cashmere. So, you have to have your fiber tested by a judge—a CGA-certified judge, which we have also on our website—or you can send it to a lab to be tested. A fiber lab. And right now, I believe the only lab available is Texas A&M, is the only fiber lab right now doing testing for us, so. And those results have to be submitted.

Deborah Niemann 12:32
What do most people do with their cashmere after they take it off the goat? Well, you… Also, too, talk about how you get the cashmere off the goat.

Christine Hulse 12:42
Yeah, so again, that’s depending. Some of our big farms… There’s a big farm out in Oklahoma; Heidi Dickens has a nice big farm with some beautiful Cashmeres. She has over 200; I think she had over 100 kids born this year. But she shears, and she’s shearing her goats because she just has so many. Most folks in the U.S. who have smaller herds are combing, and combing, of course, you’re gonna get a bigger yield, because you’re not going to get as much guard hair. And typically, it’s cheaper to send to a mill, because they’re not going to have to run it through the dehairing process as much as the sheared. So, your numbers are a little different. I mean, on one end, you save on time with the shearing. But on the other end, you’re, you know, you’re gonna have to go through a little more as far as dehairing it with a mill. So, I would say most do comb. And for those who have Cashmere, no, you’re not always going to just comb once and get it all. It usually takes twice, sometimes, on goats for the shedding process to get it all.

Deborah Niemann 13:39
Okay. And then, once they’ve got the cashmere off, what do people do with it? Like, do they try to sell it directly to spinners or crafters, or send it to a mill? Or how exactly does that go?

Christine Hulse 13:39
That’s a… Yeah, that’s a great question. Because there are a lot of folks out there that have these goats. And I know they have the cashmere, and they’re, like, and they’re just stockpiling it, because they’re like, “I’m not sure what to do with it.” And it’s valuable. So, a lot of folks, sometimes if they have a really small herd, they might, like, send it to a mill every other year and have yarn made. Or, they might sell it direct to a larger farm, to have it kind of combined and pooled together, sort of like a wool pool. You know, and then that will go into it. But, I would say most folks are saving it and probably sending it to a small mill to have processed, most of the farms. And it might just be an every other year, just to get that—if there’s a 5-pound minimum or 2-pound minimum—to send it off.

Cashmere Yarn

Christine Hulse 14:33
There is an effort in the next, probably, couple of months that I’ve been part of to get U.S. cashmere back in the hands, into a yarn form, more publicly. Where other farms can kind of put their fiber into it—small farms—and it will pay the farmer, and they’ll come out with a product that will be U.S. cashmere, which really hasn’t existed.

Deborah Niemann 14:56
Wow, that’s so exciting!

Christine Hulse 14:58
Yeah.

Deborah Niemann 14:58
Once you’ve got it processed, are most people selling it, like, directly to consumers on a farm store, or farmers market, or through Etsy, or what do they do?

Christine Hulse 15:07
Exactly. I think you just—yeah. Etsy. I know a couple of folks are on Etsy. You know, if you just put in “Etsy US cashmere,” you know, you’ll find a couple of farms. I know, some in the Midwest, some of our members are on Etsy selling it. Fiber shows. A lot will, you know, go into the fiber shows. I know for the Cashmere Goat Association, we have a booth at Rhinebeck for the New York State Wool & Sheep, and a lot of us sell our fiber there. And so, yeah. They do it direct farm shops, some folks are doing.

Deborah Niemann 15:35
Okay. And then, let’s talk about the sh— the goats a little bit more. Sorry, my brain just goes to “sheep” when we start talking fiber. So, roughly, how big is a cashmere goat? How much does it weigh? How tall is it?

Christine Hulse 15:49
Yeah. So, you know, Cashmere goats aren’t like your dairy. I mean, dairy have been bred for years and years, and to be around people. And so, one of the things about Cashmeres, they can be… I’ll use the word “feral” lightly, in that, you know, of course, if you’re handling them from when they’re kids, they’re going to be like any goat. Wonderful. But I do feel… I have some Nigerians, and the Nigerians are like puppies all the time. And Cashmere goats really need a little more handling; they’ve got a little more feralness in them, because they do have part of that Spanish meat goat in them. They might have some more of that Mongolian, you know, feral goat in them.

Christine Hulse 16:23
So, they get to be, range size, I’d say the smallest… I mean, the smallest goat I have is probably 50 pounds, 45 to 50 pounds. The biggest is, you know—it’s not a buck. It’s a wether. It’s about 120-140. So, you know, of course the bucks can get very, very big, but even your wethers can be very, very big. You know, I think for homesteaders—which is, I know, your area—they’re a great animal to add to the farm, because they not only have that fiber that you can take and wear and have and blend, or do whatever you want with it. But they’re also a meat animal. Their bodies, if you look at them, can be good meat animals. And they’re great grazers, which people love with goats for keeping weeds down. So, they kind of can serve three roles there for folks.

Deborah Niemann 17:09
Okay. Do they normally have twins?

Christine Hulse 17:12
Yes. Yes, they do. And, I don’t know, it seems like more and more goats are tripling. Like, having triplets. I don’t know. Like, it’s always been common, but so many people had triplets. They can triple. But most likely, they do twin. They do. And the color. You know, with the Cashmere, you know, you have that guard hair; the guard hair is not going to be the color of your cashmere, necessarily. I have, you know, black guard hair on some of my goats that give me an eggplant fiber or cashmere. It’s beautiful. I have white goats, that have a long silver guard hair, that give me almost like a very, very light grayish fiber. So, that’s kind of fun. When you get your kids on the ground, you get that first fleece that first year to see what the coloring is going to be for that. So, you know, you don’t always know.

Deborah Niemann 17:58
Wow, that’s interesting, that the guard hair and the cashmere are not always the same color. I hadn’t thought about that until you said it, but like, even on my Nigerians, it really seems, like, for the most part, most of their cashmere is white. It just always looks like they’ve got cotton coming off of them.

Deborah Niemann 18:15
Right. Right. So, the natural colors are, you know, like any fiber animal. It’s just so exciting to see what they’re going to be. I know, in Italy, there’s a great goat farm. Nora Kravitz owns Chianti Cashmere, and it’s an agritourism kind of destination. But she hosted our conference in Italy, and she had a buck named Cappuccino. And he was amazing. And he actually had this fiber that almost had, like, a pink tint to it. So, he’s like a badger kind of style goat, long guard hair, but his cashmere was, like, gorgeous.

Cashmere Yarn

Christine Hulse 18:51
And that’s the other nice thing, our wethers. You know, we keep our wethers, our males; they’re some of the best fiber, our wethers. And I use my wethers as pack goats, because they do… They’re a little bulkier, they’re bigger, they’re stronger, and they’re great hikers. I know some people use them for cart goats, because they’re a little sturdier.

Deborah Niemann 19:09
That totally makes sense, that wethers would have the best fiber, because they don’t have any other stress on their body. They’re not trying to grow babies. They’re not trying to make milk. They’re not even trying to make sperm. They’re not being all competitive and hormone-filled, you know, about wanting to get to the girls. Like, they can put 100% of their energy into growing great fiber.

Christine Hulse 19:27
Yeah, yeah. And it’s consistent. I mean, it’s pretty amazing. And their volume. I mean, I’m always blown away. My wethers always outdo my does with fiber. It’s crazy. And even in the competitions that I’ve ever done. So, they just do… They do really well. So, you gotta love your boys.

Deborah Niemann 19:44
Yeah, that’s awesome. So, do most people leave the horns on Cashmere goats?

Christine Hulse 19:50
They do. I know there was a farm couple years ago that a friend of mine sold her goats to, and they had dairy—they were putting them in with dairy—and they had small kids, so they did dehorn them. But 99% of the folks who get Cashmere goats do keep their horns. And that’s sometimes one of the things that causes a problem being in, like, 4-H shows, because they are like, “It’s an issue.” We’re trying to get back into the circuit of youth shows, and supporting youth with this breed. And so, that’s something we’re gonna have to probably work around a little bit.

Christine Hulse 20:18
But we do keep the horns. I mean, scientifically, you know, it’s been shown that it does help as a temperature regulator, the horns. I just found out recently—I have to look more at the actual anatomy of this—but I had a vet tell me that the horns are not, like, completely hollow. Like, they actually have some air circulation in them and so, it’s pretty interesting, the dynamics of them. So, we don’t usually dehorn.

Deborah Niemann 20:18
Yeah. I know, we used to raise Shetland sheep for twelve years. And I was shocked the first time I was out there, like in the dead of winter. There’s snow everywhere. It’s freezing. And I don’t remember why I took off my gloves, but for whatever reason, I touched a ram’s horn, and it was so warm. I was like, “Whoa!” Like, there’s blood flow into those horns.

Christine Hulse 21:07
Yeah. They serve a purpose.

Deborah Niemann 21:09
Yeah, they’re a real part of their body.

Christine Hulse 21:11
And, you know, and that’s a whole other part of raising goats. You know? I know, like, with dairy, handling them, but with Cashmeres, you know… There’s a great guy, he does pack goats; his name is Marc Warnke—I think it’s W-A-R-N-K-E—and he’s, like, the pack goat god. And, if you ever look at, he does videos, but he made such a good point. He’s like, “Don’t pat your goats in the back of the horns. Whatever you do. They love it. You know, it itches, a lot of hay gets back there.” He goes, “Because, what you’re teaching them to do is go up to you and do this. And that’s dangerous. You don’t want a goat coming up to you, always getting mad that you’re not itching them. So, he talks about how to handle, you know, an animal with horns safely from the beginning. The same thing with the goat yoga thing. You know, like, careful. Don’t start with these goats. They’re gonna get really big; don’t start getting them to jump on you when they’re little.

Deborah Niemann 22:03
Yeah.

Christine Hulse 22:04
But, you know, all of these things, yeah.

Deborah Niemann 22:06
Even with goats that don’t have horns. Like, a lot of times new people come in, and they’re like, “Oh!” You know, and they go to rub the goat on top of their head. And it’s like, “No, don’t do that.” You do not want them to do that. And so many people think it’s cute to butt heads with a baby goat. And it’s like, yeah, that’s not so cute when the goat’s like 70, 80, 100 pounds. And once they’re that big, and they’re still doing it… I mean, it’s sad. I’ve heard of goats winding up in the freezer, because they were too dangerous to be around, simply because people played with him inappropriately when they were little.

Christine Hulse 22:42
Yeah, it’s so true. And that, you know, it’s such an important education. Like, when they’re little, just start them off right with some good training like that. So true.

Deborah Niemann 22:50
Yeah, exactly. Like, don’t do anything to them when they’re little that you don’t want them to do when they’re full-grown.

Christine Hulse 22:56
Right? Just like your own kids. Right?

Deborah Niemann 23:00
That’s right, exactly.

Christine Hulse 23:02
Right. Teach them.

Deborah Niemann 23:04
So, if somebody is thinking… Like, they’ve listened to this so far, and they’re like, “Oh, I gotta get some Cashmeres.” Like, is there anybody who shouldn’t get them? Any reason that it would be a bad fit for any particular farm, or anything like that?

Christine Hulse 23:18
Yeah. You know, I guess… You know, it’s really people who need to know, when they’re getting into goats, what they’re getting into, right? Like, you know, just don’t go out and get a goat. And I think, too… I did a lot of research on what breed fits me. You know, like, what works for my personality, and my energy level, and my emotional level. You know, as far as I knew, I didn’t want to send goats to the freezer. And I wanted fiber. So, I think that’s it.

Christine Hulse 23:41
I think the other thing just to be aware of is size. You know, I’m getting older, and so big goats can be, you know, difficult to handle, even if they’re gentle. And so, I know I’m breeding smaller, to keep the same amount of fiber with my genetics and just breeding smaller goats, you know, with smaller bucks, basically. And I say smaller. I mean, 70 pounds, 65 pounds—it’s still a good-sized goat. But, I would say just look at the breeders, and go visit. Most of our breeders on our breeder list on the site would love to have people come and talk about Cashmere before they actually get one, for sure. And there’s some—really, people have been doing it for a long time. So just, I guess, think ahead. I wouldn’t say it was a bad addition to a farm for anyone, as long as they just look into it first.

Deborah Niemann 24:25
Yeah, exactly. We’re in the middle of, like, you know, kidding and kid selling season and all that kind of stuff. And we were just talking about that this morning in our Goats 365 meeting, about: People sometimes call you to buy goats, and if you just ask them a few questions, it becomes obvious that they have done zero research. And you really don’t want to sell your goats to them. You know, like, if they don’t even know, like, what they’re supposed to feed them, or that they need loose, free-choice minerals, and what they need for housing, and fencing, and this kind of stuff. You know, somebody sent me a picture of a split-rail fence a couple of weeks ago. And I was like, “Ah, yeah, that’s not gonna work with goats.”

Christine Hulse 25:06
Oh…

Deborah Niemann 25:07
“They’re just gonna walk right through that.”

Christine Hulse 25:10
Oh… Yeah. I mean, I love—you know, and a lot of these Associations are so great to belong to, because you get that mentoring. And that’s the other thing, which I love about CGA. Because, you know, it is a different kind of animal. You have fiber seasons, and as well as the goat science behind it. So I feel like, for CGA, anybody could reach out and talk to someone, and they would be a mentor to you no matter what. You could send them an email, and they will get back to you and guide you through the process, which is nice. Which is, I think, helpful for any animal that you’re raising, to have some mentors in your pocket to help you.

Deborah Niemann 25:43
Yeah, absolutely. There’s nothing like being able to talk to somebody who’s been doing it for a number of years.

Christine Hulse 25:49
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Especially like you—you’re in a rural area. And you don’t always find a ruminant vet that specializes, and just to bounce off some ideas on other people—especially with the medical concerns—can be great.

Deborah Niemann 26:03
Yeah. And we just don’t have that many goats locally. You know, like, there’s not too many areas where you’re like, “Oh, yeah, my neighbor has goats.” So, you usually have to find somebody, you know, online or through a breed Association to mentor you.

Deborah Niemann 26:20
Well, thank you so much for joining us today. I think this has been super interesting! I keep telling myself I don’t need any other breeds of goats.

Christine Hulse 26:29
I’m the same way. I have Nigerians, and I have my Cashmeres. And, you know, the fiber piece of it is really, really cool. And you know, they say it’s a luxury fiber. But really, it’s available to anybody right off a Cashmere goat. Anybody can have a Cashmere goat and have cashmere. And there are enough breeders now throughout the United States where I feel, if somebody wants one, they don’t necessarily have to go too far to go at least visit a farm. And again, our membership has been going up. So, their farms are around. And people are doing amazing things with fiber. Like, I have some of the jewelry—I started making jewelry—with the cashmere. There’s so many things you can do with fiber today, and people, what they’re doing. So—

Deborah Niemann 27:06
Cool.

Christine Hulse 27:06
—pretty cool. Yeah.

Deborah Niemann 27:08
So, do you know, off the top of your head, how many people are in the Association?

Christine Hulse 27:11
Well, as secretary—

Deborah Niemann 27:12
Yeah! Yeah.

Christine Hulse 27:15
—we have right around 70. Right around 70, 72, somewhere around there. And interestingly, like, this past year—probably you’ve seen the same thing your Nigerians—that post-COVID, people that homesteading, people really looking to get more into a variety of some different animals to add to their farm. So, we had a little uptick in our in our membership. And people who are really, like, knitters, like, which is really cool to see. Because they’re going to get on the fiber end of it as well. So.

Deborah Niemann 27:42
Yeah. That was why we had the Shetland sheep for twelve years, because my daughters—both of my daughters and I—started as knitters. And then, my youngest learned how to spin, and then both of them learned how to crochet. And so, we used a lot of our own wool ourselves.

Christine Hulse 27:58
So, I’m a former school counselor; I was an elementary and middle school counselor for like, 32 years. I just retired in June. And, I am set on getting a knitting club back into schools. I just feel like they’re such a good place for it, to get kids back involved in knitting and crocheting and doing more of those things, as far as the fiber. So, we’ll see.

Deborah Niemann 28:20
Yeah. And it’s a completely different world to start working with natural fibers.

Christine Hulse 28:24
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it’s true. Yeah, that’s true.

Deborah Niemann 28:28
Well, this has been so much fun. Thank you so much for joining us today! I’m sure people got a lot of value out of this and learned a lot. I know I sure did. So, it’s really awesome. And congratulations on making the Cashmere a breed in the United States now!

Christine Hulse 28:41
Yeah, you’re welcome! And just head to the website, if anybody has any questions, and there are a ton of contacts that people can reach out if they have any questions. And like I said, there’s also, now, we have a Cashmere Goat Association YouTube channel. And we are doing workshops and presentations pretty much every other month now, which is related to goats in general.

Christine Hulse 29:02
So yeah, thank you for having me! This was a lot of fun. This was my first one. I’ve never done this before.

Deborah Niemann 29:07
Wow!

Christine Hulse 29:07
This was a lot of fun. Thank you.

Deborah Niemann 29:09
Great. Thanks for being with us!

Deborah Niemann 29:12
And that’s it for today’s show. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to hit the “subscribe” button so that you don’t miss any episodes. To see show notes, you can always visit ForTheLoveOfGoats.com, and you can follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/LoveGoatsPodcast. See you again next time. Bye for now!

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