— The Openherd Team

Hidden Pastures Luxury Fiber Farm & Shop

A very special place to be!

Mike & Natalie Burger
35 Newton AvenueBranchville, NJ 07826

American Cashmere Goats

Cashmere-The downy undercoat of a goat!

How we Started

Hidden Pastures started raising cashmere goats in 2013.  Having experience with other fiber livestock we spent considerable time and energy looking for just the right goats for our starter herd.  As we will explain below, all goats have cashmere, but to be considered a cashmere goat, the goat must meet certain criteria for the quality and quantiy of their fleece.  This led us to look at goat breeders that were involved in the Cashmere Goat Association and those that understood fiber production.  We are on our second year of production of kids and cashmere and look forward to sharing these amazing goats and their products with you.

What is Cashmere?

That’s right – the makings of every cashmere sweater starts out on a goat. Cashmere is the goat’s soft, downy undercoat, grown to its maximum length by mid-winter and shed in early Spring. Any goat can grow cashmere, but those we call “cashmere goats” have been selectively bred to produce it in significant amounts.

The quality of the cashmere fleece is determined by three factors: its length, its diameter, and the degree of crimping. The American cashmere industry promotes high standards in regards to raising good healthy animals bearing exceptionally good cashmere fiber.

There is no such thing as a “purebred” cashmere goat. Feral goats from Australia, and Spanish meat goats from the American Southwest, selected for fiber traits, form the basis of the American cashmere goat industry. The goats’ down and the guard hair which surrounds it may be any color, but the shearable parts of the body (excluding face, stockings and belly) should be of a single color.

The guard hair may be long or short depending on individual situations and preferences, but the guard hair should be coarse enough that a mechanical dehairer can easily distinguish it from cashmere. Traditionally, cashmere goats are not de-horned. Both male and female goats have horns, which serve to dissipate heat during the summer, and make excellent handles when working with the animals.

Most of the hair on a cashmere goat is guard hair. The downy undercoat is the cashmere.
Either of two methods are used to harvest the cashmere fleece – shearing or combing. Sheared fleece contains considerably more guard hair than combed fleece. No matter which method is used, the harvested fleece must be dehaired in order to remove the guard hair.

The average cashmere yield from one goat amounts to about four ounces annually, but there is a wide range of variation in yield. Fiber length and fineness, and the amount of fleece coverage on

Cashmere fiber is crimped (rather than wavy), soft, and lacking luster. By industry standards it must be at least 1-1/4′ long with an average diameter less than 19 microns. A micron is one-millionth of a meter (a meter is about a yard), so each fiber is very, very fine. For comparison, a human hair can range from 17 to 18 microns in diameter. The crimpiness of the fiber gives it “loft” and enables garments made of cashmere to provide warmth without weight.

Cashmere Goat Association

We are proud members of the Cashmere Goat Association.  More information on this organization can be found at www.cashmeregoatassociation.org