Yaks....  Not Just for the Zoo Anymore!

"Yaks in America"  DVD

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Is it time to add Yaks to your farm or ranch? Spend some time learning about this great alternative to beef cattle, bison, sheep, goats, or alpacas. If you are interested, click to find out how we came to raise yaks.

A Lot from a Little: Pound for pound, yaks require about 1/2 the forage of domestic cattle. The higher stocking levels are terrific for small acreage operations and are a great fit for permaculture based systems. If you are interested in an ideal livestock for small acreage, high density, rotational, grass based grazing systems, you need to take a serious look at yaks. 

Easy Keepers: In most states, yaks require no special permits check with state authorities for specifics. Cattle fencing is generally adequate. They are extremely winter hardy and disease resistant. Calving is easy resulting in a 25-35 pound calf. They require no special feed - grass works real good. At weaning time, you won't hear a bunch of bawling calves as yaks are usually as quiet as a fish!  Yakity Yak just doesn't fit. Yaks do make a grunting sound to communicate with each other and with their babies. 

Multi-Task Yak: You may have “herd” it before but here it comes......

Ride, Pack, and Pull - Meat, Milk, and Wool

Ride/Pack/Pull: Yaks are responsible for the Trans-Himalayan trade routes between Tibet and Nepal transporting untold tons of salt and other goods through the centuries. With proper training they can carry loads similar to pack horses, well over 150 pounds, and they don’t need special feed on the trail. Check out these yak trekking sites: Alaska Yak Trekking ,  Tibet Yak Treks.

 Meat: Yak meat, deep red with little fat, is very tender. The flavor is best described as beef-like but different; we think better. We sometimes feed small amounts of natural grains by hand in training or as treats, but our yaks are mostly grassfed and grass finished. 

 Milk:  Even if yak milk was pink, I don’t think we would milk our yaks, (sherpas call the cows naks) but yak-butter tea is considered a real treat with Tibetans. It goes good with barley for breakfast..........  maybe. Yak cheese is developing a great reputation worldwide.

 Wool: The yak’s undercoat, fiber or wool, is very fine, comparable to angora and cashmere, Our friend calls it "yakmere". This luxurious fiber is used to produce wonderful garments. The long guard hair is used for many items including ropes, belts, and leads. Yak tail hair is used to make theatrical wigs including all those great clown wigs and even Santa's beard. Yak fur is the staple of Hollywood's monster movies. All the greats, Cornelius, Dr. Zeus, the Wolfman, and the mighty Chewbacca all wear yak hair when on camera. 

 Yak-Crosses: Yaks can be crossed with domestic cattle and bison to create “best of” offspring. As a bonus the first generation males are sterile eliminating the need for castration. 


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