The Changthangi goat is a beautiful animal that lives in the dry, cold area around Ladakh in the Indian state of Kashmir.
You can also call it a Changra goat or a Pashmina goat. People rear the breed for its extremely fine cashmere wool.
Shawls are expensive because Pashmina cloth is hard to create. Soon, copycat Pashminas were created using other cashmere goats’ wool or a mix of sheep wool, silk, and viscose.
Kashmir Pashmina wool is considered the world’s finest cashmere, with 12–15 microns thick fibers. Kashmiri Pashmina shawls use this wool.
The best pashmina wool textiles are exported globally at premium prices.
Origin of Changthangi Goat
Changpa nomads from Greater Ladakh’s Changthang region raise Changthagi goats. This region boasts a world-high plateau.
Changpa, nomadic shepherds in the Himalayas, have raised Changthangi goats for centuries. In Ladakh, India, locals collect Pashmina goat fiber.
Each village hires shepherds to move their mixed flock of goats and sheep along a lengthy route of 6–9 miles (10–15 km), though some villages go further.
The villages agree on the routes so they won’t run out of pastures. Along the way, people can stay in permanent tents called Rebo. Goats spend the night in paddocks with stone walls around them.
Throughout the day, goats roam the dry valleys and small grasslands that the melting snows have made available.
When food runs out, herds move to another camp. Traditional life hasn’t changed or created much. It’s unsuitable for farming.
In the 1990s, Kashmir’s need for Pashmina goat wool to manufacture Pashmina shawls increased. However, shawls are pricey because Pashmina fabric is rare and difficult to make.
Soon, imitation Pashminas were made from other cashmere goats’ wool or a blend of sheep wool, silk, and viscose.
An Overview of Changthangi goat
The conservation status of the Changthangi goat is currently classified as “threatened” since even though 158,000 of these goats were documented in Ladakh in 2003, their numbers are decreasing due to high mortality and low returns.
Biodiversity: Although there is still a diverse gene pool, the consequences of inbreeding pose a threat to the species as the population continues to dwindle.
Ranging from small to medium in size, these animals have long coats and enormous horns that are either bent or twisted. A convex face with straight, short ears and no wattles on either side. In cold weather, goats stay warm because of their thick undercoats.
White is the most common and preferred option for fiber. However, the most common colors are a variety of tints ranging from gray to black, cream to red-brown, and sometimes with white patterns.
The most common colors are a variety of tints ranging from gray to black, cream to red-brown, and sometimes with white patterns.
Height & Weight
Yearlings have an average height of 20 inches (52 cm). Weight The severe weather conditions and lack of grazing throughout the winter months result in very little growth.
Yearlings average 35–44 lb (16–20 kg). Adult animals that are between 2 and 5 years old are typically are for harvesting meat.
Although it is weaker and more absorbent than sheep wool, it takes dye very well and is the finest fiber from wool goat breeds.
It keeps heat in three times better than sheep wool. In the late spring, people gather them by either combing or shearing, then sold to businesses that feed the textile industry.
The herders drink the milk from the does during the summer. They can be used for meat, and some people can use them as pack goats.
Goats produce an average of 9 ounces (249 grams) of fiber per animal per year, with a range that can be anywhere from 2 ounces to 23 ounces (50-650 grams), with the Adult males producing most, averaging 14 oz (400 g).
Temperament & Adaptability
Because their nomadic existence puts them at risk of people killing them, their disposition is watchful and wary.
Changthangi goats have been able to withstand temperatures ranging from –40 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (–40 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius), long winters, and high winds at altitudes ranging from 10,000 to 17,000 feet due to their adaptability over many centuries (3000–5000 m).
From July through September, their only source of sustenance is grass from the highlands. In the winter, they extract roots from beneath the topsoil and hydrate themselves by licking snow or ice, whereas shepherds provide dry forage to augment their diet.
Only under the most trying of circumstances is grain available. Between July and November, mature bucks can procreate at the age of two, while does can do so at the age of 18 months.
A doe may give birth anywhere from six to eight times in her lifetime. Therefore, twin births are extremely uncommon, and infant mortality is extremely high.
Abortions and stillbirths are uncommon, but young animals frequently succumb to respiratory or nutritional conditions and predation or exposure to the elements.
Even though the youngsters escape from the bitter cold by corrals or by holes carved into the side of the mountain, the lack of feed, the drought, and the combination of the two all take their toll.