Hawks Mountain Ranch
Pygora Goats
Gaston, OR

 

 

 

 

 

E-mail us at:
lisa@hmrpygoras.com
Hawks Mountain Ranch Breeders Profile
Pygora Goats

Lisa Roskopf
PH: (503) 985-3331
E-Mail: lisa@hmrpygoras.com
Website: www.hmrpygoras.com

51920 S.W. Dundee Rd. Gaston, OR 97119


 

Our Farm was featured in the Oct/Nov 1999 issue of the GOAT Magazine.  Below, is our breeders profile that was published.

You can find out more about the GOAT Magazine at:  www.goatmagazine.com  

I have always admired people that have a vision of how they want their life to be and drive towards achieving that goal.  I would like to say that is how George and I came to our love of goats but….it didn't happen that way. 

The farm

We bought our small farm, located 2.5 miles up a gravel road on the very top of a hill over looking the coastal range for one main reason; we wanted to get away from the city. The solitude and tranquility of having 27 acres in the middle of a forest seemed like the ideal way to escape the hustle and bustle. Our place is within 30 miles of Portland, the largest city in Oregon, but you would never know it when you stand in the back of the house looking out over the trees to the valley below. The red-tailed hawks circling in the treetops above the mountain seemed to be signaling to us that this was to be our little bit of heaven.  We bought the farm!

George had grown up on a small farm and had raised animals for FFA projects. I always lived in the suburbs. The closest I ever came to farm animals was raising gerbils. I've always loved animals. There were always cats and dogs in our family and I always developed strong bonds with them. 

The animals

Once we settled into our new farm, we decided that some animals were in order to help us get the overgrown pastures under control.  After putting up our perimeter fences, we began looking for the right kind of animals. Beef cows were our first selection.  Shortly after they arrived, they ate everything in sight, tore up the pastures, and created a huge muddy mess in the winter. I just could not connect with them.

After we sold the cows we began to search again. We visited the Oregon State Fair. George and I were taking a walk through the animal barns. George said that the next thing he knew, he is walking by himself. He looked back and saw me bent over an animal pen. It was love at first sight! Charlotte was our first Pygora doe along with Casper, the friendly goat, wether to keep her company. For people that don't own goats, it is difficult to explain the connection that goats have with humans.

It turned out that the goats were an excellent choice for our original objective for the farm. They went after all of the overgrown and undesirable brush and weeds in the pastures. They ate things that many other animals would over look.  It was not long before our pastures were free of blackberries, scotch broom, and a wide variety of weeds.

We soon realized these goats had many other uses besides managing our overgrown pastures.  They also produced a soft, fluffy fleece that could be spun into a fine luxurious yarn. 

Pygora goats are a medium sized fiber-producing animal.   They can have one of three different fleece types.   All of these fleece types come in a wide variety of colors including white, gray, brown, black, and caramel.  The Pygora fleece can be harvested by shearing, plucking or combing.  Below is a chart describing the different fleece types.

 

Pygora Fleece Types

 

Type A
(Mohair characteristics)

 

¨     Lustrous/Shiny finish

¨     Wavy ringlets

¨     No obvious guard hairs

¨     Silky & smooth handle

¨     Cool handle

¨     Averages 6+" long

 

Type B
(Blend between A & C)

 

¨     Lustrous/Shiny finish

¨     Nice Curl

¨     Finer guard hairs

¨     Soft & airy handle

¨     Averages 3-6" long

 

Type C
(Cashmere characteristics)

 

¨     Matte finish

¨     Very fine undercoat

¨     Distinct guard hairs

¨     Extra downy-soft handle

¨     Warm & creamy handle

¨     Averages 1-3" long

Developing our herd

I began building my herd with my Black doe, Charlotte. Like others that get into something that is new to them, I sought out advice from others that were more experienced. I was very fortunate to find a group of breeders that were not only knowledgeable, but also openly shared that knowledge with me. I will always be grateful for their advice and council.

I developed an understanding of the characteristics that have contributed to good breeding stock. I began to develop a plan about what I wanted the results of my breeding program to be.  I also took up handspinning so that I could learn what my customers were looking for in good quality fiber.

Like many of the articles I've seen from other breeders in GOAT magazine, I became convinced that good selective breeding practices were the best method of advancing my goals. I searched for animals that I felt would provide me the gene pool that would best contribute to those objectives.

The foundation to that program is a buck. The choice of the buck is the most important decision a breeder faces in advancing their program. Eyore (picture here) is a type-B buck that was the first "permanent Grand Champion" of the Pygora breed. He throws large, strong- bodied kids with excellent fleece coverage. Although he is only 1 of 6 bucks that I use in my program now, his genetic contributions have been one of the key contributors to my success at shows.

I have my herd. What's next?

Once I began developing a flock I was proud of, I began to search for ways to interest others in my animals.

The PBA (Pygora Breeders Association) is a group dedicated to the advancement and well being of the Pygora breed.  Finding an organization like this provides invaluable assistance in developing interest and markets for the animals and their products. I began to devote some of my time contributing to the organization. I served as the breed registrar for 2 years and remain active in the group.

This group hosts sanctioned shows, distributes information, and provides a connection between the public and individual breeders. In addition to making some great friends, I found the group stimulated my interest in creating a market for my goats and their fiber.

I began to think about what I might do to have others put themselves in the same position I was when I looked into that pen and fell in love with my very first goat. What could I do to put my animals in a position to be seen and appreciated?

The World Wide Web

The Internet was the answer! It allowed me to provide frequently refreshed pictures and information about the animals and their fiber. I began doing a web page. No, I wasn't a computer expert, I just began. Again, I found some people with some experience and asked questions. The more I got into doing it, the more convinced I became that I could get it done. Sure enough, before long my page was up and my kid list started getting "hits" from all over the country. In following up on these inquiries, I discovered there were a lot of different reasons people were interested. They wanted them for everything from brush eating to 4-H projects for children.  I began to expand my product offerings and have been shipping animals all over the United States. Because of the size of the animal and the fleece products, the Internet is an excellent way to get a very shippable product known to a very large audience.

Sheep and Shows

As a result of the Pygora experience, and my work in organizing and running goat shows, I became convinced of the need for a "fiber and fiber animal show" dedicated to all fiber animals and plant fibers of all kinds.  Together with 5 other people, we began planning for the "Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival". The 3rd annual show will be held at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby, Oregon on September 24,25,26, 1999. 

As I have talked to goat breeders and attended many shows, I also developed an interest in all types of fiber and fiber producing animals. That has led to a flock of 80 Icelandic sheep that I also raise on my farm.

Lessons learned

My husband often says that his FFA experience was the most valuable of all his formal education. I feel the same way about raising goats. Life values like; persistence, responsibility, giving and gaining from council with others, dealing with setbacks and celebrating success have all been a part of raising animals.

My experience as a breeder taught me the value of collaboration, sharing ideas and the valuable lesson experience teaches.  My Internet experience taught me the value of persistence and the value of trying to see things from another's perspective. This may be the reason that things like FFA and 4-H are such wonderful learning experiences for children.

Perhaps the biggest lesson learned is to focus less on the end goal and more from the experiences gained as I strive towards that goal.  

 See our Icelandic sheep website at: www.hawksmountainranch.com

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