Care and Keeping of Domestic Yak
For those wishing to keep some more unusual animals on their land, the Yak could be the animal for you. Yaks have a striking appearance, with shoulders like that of a buffalo and large horns. They have long hair that reaches below the stomach and can have various colours. Away from farming, they can make fantastic pasture pets and will respond to you by seeking attention and have real personality. Yak cows can grow to 700lbs whilst yak bulls can grow to 1400lbs.
Keeping Yaks is quite easy since they don’t require any special permits to own. Yaks can be raised in standard cattle facilities and don’t need any advanced fencing to keep in, just a standard barbed wire fence will be enough. They are moved quite easily by using a stick in front of them to direct them. When a Yak mother has calves they become very protective and will warn any perceived threats with grunts and head shakes. The Yak babies will run around a lot much like a horse and are very playful, loving to leap around the pasture.
The cost of keeping Yaks is very low since they are disease-hardened and birthing is quick and easy. This leads to vets fees being astonishingly low. As far as housing them goes, they prefer roofing without sides or even just shade provided by trees which means building and maintenance costs are low. You can pasture 4 Yaks in the same amount of space as one commercial cow making them more space-efficient, whilst food savings are significant too. A commercial cow will get through 25lbs of forage each day, but a Yak cow needs just 8lbs of forage each day. They can survive in all sorts of climates, but love the cold weather the most. During warm spells they pant strongly and spend much time in lakes, so a large water source is recommended to help the Yaks keep cool.
The produce Yaks can provide are much like cows, but they have an added bonus in that their hair and wool can be harvested and sold for a good sum. Yak hair is often used in human wig production due to its striking similarities in texture. Yak meat is juicy, flavourful and has a unique dispersion of fatty acid. Yak steaks are a delicacy around the world and can fetch a decent fee, increasing if the Yaks are fed nothing but a grass/forage diet, with no steroid or antibiotic supplements. Of course as mentioned earlier, some Yaks can become pets and when people become attached to these loveable animals they will want to keep harvest everything but meat from them. Along with hair, Yaks produce milk that can be turned into butter or cheese. This is sought after in eastern countries, but there is no real market for these or production opportunities in the US.
Overall these animals are fun to keep and if you harvest them for their meat there is plenty of profit to be made, and the cheap cost of keeping them means there are very few downsides of Yak farming, other than their capability to win over your heart.
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