All About Raising Yaks

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

A yak is a type of hairy bovid found in the Himalayan region, Russia, central Asia, and Tibet. This hardy beast is closely related to cattle and/or bison. Although yaks are not commonly raised in the west, they make an ideal domestic livestock.

Apart from their exotic appearance, yaks do not moo, bawl, or bellow. To communicate, these imposing beats will snort quietly, shake their heads, or grunt. Despite their size, yaks are surprisingly agile, athletic, and playful. They leap and run like horses. Yaks are also intelligent, curious but mellow. They are a pleasure to raise because of their calm disposition.

Incredibly, yaks respond to their handler like a pet. These animals love the attention and would show genuine love and appreciation to their owners. If raised on a ranch, yaks will respond to their caretakers with friendliness, never aggressiveness. If you’ve always wondered what the benefits of raising yaks either as pets or as livestock are, continue reading below:

Benefits of Raising Yaks

Ideal for Small Acreage

If you have a moderate-sized piece of land and you want to start raising grazing animals, yaks make a great domestic livestock. Unlike cattle or buffalo, yaks are smaller in size. A mature female yak weighs between 600 to 800 pounds. These beasts only require about half the forage space of cattle. Yaks prefer grass hay than grain, so if the piece of land is full of grass, you can depend on your yaks to trim the unwanted foliage!

No Special Feeds Required!

Again, yaks prefer grass hay, leaves, and grass to expensive grain feeds. Because you do not need to purchase special feeds, feeding yaks are more affordable compared to cattle. Yaks are able to survive high altitude with little to zero food. As such, you do not need to spend a lot on food to keep your yaks healthy.

Better Tasting Meat

Assuming that you are raising yaks as livestock, yak meat is even more flavorful than beef or pork. The texture and appearance of yak meat are similar to beef but the taste is more robust. The meat is deep red in color with very little fat. Because yak meat is rare and better tasting than beef, it is more expensive. Supplies are also limited so if you plan to satisfy the demand for yak meat, your profits will skyrocket.

Other Products

Apart from its meat, you can raise yaks for their milk and wool. Yaks are not traditionally raised for milk production but its milk is quite tasty. In fact, Tibetans love yak milk so much that it is a part of their regular diet. Yaks have a shaggy coat that you can turn into wool. Wool is very high in demand because of its excellent insulation. The fibers of yak wool are also very fine, even finer than angora goats or cashmere! This is the reason why yak wool is very expensive.

Resistant to Diseases

The natural habitat of yaks is several feet above the ground, in high altitude, mountainous regions. These beasts are able to survive the harshest winters, often with very little food. Because of the extreme environment, yaks are extremely resistant to sickness. This means you do not need to spend a small fortune to keep yaks healthy.