Ferme BOS G. Farm

The origin of the yak :

 
The wild yak is found in the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet at elevations of 14 000 feet. The Yak was originally domesticated in Tibet 5 000 years ago and has supplied the indigenous peoples of these mountainous regions with most of their daily needs including meat, milk, butter, cheese, wool, fibre, leather, fuel, and packing/trekking/travel requirements. This versatile animal is an integral part of the lives of the Tibetan natives and substantially adds to the renowned health and longevity of these peoples.

The history of an animal is only important if it informs us of values that may be relevant today. The history of the yak has suggested that meat quality research was warranted on this unique bovine. A number of alert, forward-looking ranchers began this testing. Preliminary results are more than exciting. The meat from this hardy breed may be the healthiest meat you can possibly eat, better for your heart and for your health even than skinless chicken, buffalo, elk, or any other meat. Yak meat is naturally very low in fat (95% or less), very low in cholesterol, saturated fats, and calories, while also being very high in protein, stearic acid and oleic acids, yielding very healthy HDL to LDL ratios in humans. The “Faks” alone should get you very excited.

Appearance/personality

The Tibetan Yak has a truly striking exotic appearance. With handlebar horns, buffalo humped shoulders, horse-like tail, and a long hairy skirt reaching almost to the ground; they are very pleasing to the eye. When these features are combined with a golden color and/or a royal coloring pattern (black or golden with large segments of white coloring) Yaks have an exotic appearance you can enjoy watching for hours. Yak babies are agile, athletic, playful, and leap and run like excited horses with their tails held high over their backs. Yaks do not bellow, bawl, or moo. Instead they communicate in quiet grunts, snorts and head shakes. Yaks are extremely intelligent, curious, independent, serene, mellow, and quiet animals that make them a pleasure to raise. If raised as a pasture pet, they will respond to you as a pet, always seeking attention and responding in turn with appreciation and with real personality. If raised on a ranch with minimum interaction, they quickly recognize and accept their caretakers as friendly and are not aggressive.
 

Easy to keep

Yaks do not require any special permits or licenses. Your standard cattle facilities are more than adequate to raise and work with Yaks. Since Yaks do not "walk the fence line", and are not unruly in their pasture, a simple 4-strand barbed wire fence is all that is required. Yaks are extremely observant and aware of their surroundings, and are suspicious of strangers. They are not belligerent, but rather are quite easy to move and direct with the help of a long stick as a visual aid and guide. Yak mothers are exceptionally protective of their own calves, as well as other calves in the herd, from any perceived threat including dogs and coyotes. If an intruder enters their safe-space they will give a series of grunt-snort warnings combined with headshakes before further protective measures are taken. Calves will be protected from anyone or anything intent on causing harm. At weaning there is no bellowing or fence-pacing. The only sounds are simple grunts. Weaning is accepted and life goes on within a couple of days. There is no real stress shown by the mothers, the calves, or the owners. You can literally wean these animals in the field next to your bedroom and not lose any sleep.
 

Cheap to keep

Yaks are at home at high mountainous elevations with great temperature extremes. They are exceedingly cold hardy and disease resistant. Birthing ease in Yaks comes naturally with 20-40 pound calves. You will be amazed at the ease and the speed of the Yak's birth. Your vet bills will be virtually non-existent. Yaks thrive in our high elevation cold winters. They prefer to eat snow rather than drink water. They won't use shelters. You'll see Yaks kicking up their heels and holding their heads and tails high during a blizzard, actually enjoying the weather we dread. God designed them for high elevation winters. On hot summer days, Yaks beat the heat by panting like a dog, wading into streams and ponds, and laying in the shade of trees. No buildings or structures are required. The stocking rate of Yak is three or four times that of commercial cattle. In other words, you can pasture four Yak cows on the same acreage as you can one commercial cow, and two Yak bulls on the same acreage as one commercial bull. A commercial cow eats twenty-five pounds of forage per day, while a Yak cow eats seven to eight pounds of forage per day and never needs grain. According to a University of Nebraska study, Yak steers only need six pounds of forage to gain one pound of body weight, while cattle and bison need eight pounds and twelve pounds respectively. Additionally, the Yak steer can be finished on grass alone. Yaks do not need or utilize grain, hormones, steroids, or antibiotic feed supplements to maintain excellent health and growth, nor are these items desirable. New studies show grain finishing of cattle causes liver abscesses in cattle, slows immune responses, as well as causes more saturated fats in the meat. And of course many studies show hormones, steroids, fed antibiotics cause immune bacterial strains and may stimulate cancers in humans, and slow human immune response.

Size, growth, and maturity

Adult Yak cows range in weight from 600 to 700 pounds and stand 4.5 feet at the shoulders, while Yak bulls range from 1200 to 1500 pounds and stand 5.5 feet at the shoulders. Full size is achieved in six to eight years. Yak heifers conceive at eighteen to twenty-four months of age and calve at two and one-half years. Gestation is 8.5 months. Calving of the twenty-five to thirty-five pound babies appears effortless, problem free, and finished before you can get your camera. Scours are extremely rare, and only occur in extremely wet and muddy conditions. Yak udders are very small, yielding low quantities of extremely rich milk. Newborn babies are up and running in minutes, grow rapidly, and are exceptionally disease-resistant and cold hardy due to their wool coat. Yak bulls are considered breeders at two and one-half years of age. Yaks breed and calve far longer than cattle since Yaks live 20-25 years. Your breeding animal replacement costs will drop 50% to 75%. Yak bulls must be raised with cattle if they are to become cattle breeders.
 

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