August 2007

What is Bison Fiber (hair)?

Bison (American Buffalo) molts in the springtime to get ready for the summer heat. It was common for Native Americans to use the fiber for ropes, textile and other insulating purposes. Recently, scientists are paying more attention to this animal and the properties of its fiber.

There are two different types of Bison fiber. The coarse hair, which is the top coat, is not suitable for garments. However, if the undercoat is separated, the downy fiber rivals Cashmere and Angora.

Bison hair can absorb more moisture than sheep’s wool. This property makes it a good candidate for winter-wear, as it does not allow the body to feel wet. It is warmer than wool and very comfortable to wear. Bison fiber does not have lanolin. As a result, people who are allergic to lanolin can wear garments made out of Bison fiber without a problem.

Raising Bison in North America is easier on farmers than taking care of any other kind of cattle. As a native animal, it is used to the weather. There is no need for special shelter in winter. It grazes in native range and requires less feed per day than cattle.

Bison hair cannot legally be called wool, yet. According to The Federal Trade Commission, wool is the fleece of the sheep or lamb or hair of the angora or cashmere goat (and may include the so-called specialty fibers from the hair of the camel, alpaca, llama, and vicuna). The law does not include Bison hair.

For more information about Bison check out:



Nazanin S. Fard

Needlecraft University

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