Animal Enrichment and Welfare

Introduction To Yaks

Recently I was inspired to write a post about yaks. Back when I just started researching about farm animals I thought that Highland Cows were yaks(there’s a Highland Cow on the home page of my blog). Yaks however look quite different, and can also be used for many different things.

Image from nelsonroadvet.com

From what I’ve seen they remind me of an extra fluffy bison. Maybe I’ll write a post about the similarities and differences another time, but the key difference is the fact that yaks are domesticated.

During my brief research about these majestic creatures I came across a list of things to know before someone thinks about jumping into yaks.

  1. Yes, yak meat is said to be delicious and healthy, however yaks grow very slowly(because of their longer life span of 30 years) and don’t reach butchering weight until they are 6-8 years old! That’s a long wait!
  2. Yaks will need a shelter. A large 3 sided structure with a roof is adequate.
  3. If you plan on harvesting the high quality fiber from your yaks a lot of work and thought needs to be put into it. Including removing weeds with burrs from their pasture and increasing soil drainage. Your yaks also will need plenty of protein in their diet, insufficient protein and your fiber will become very low grade quality, as it will be prone to breaking.
  4. Yaks need a diet similar to most ruminants, they need free choice high quality hay, mineral and vitamin supplements that are specialized for yaks, and a clean water source.

This post is supposed to just be a brief introduction to yaks so I think I will stop here, there is so much more you can learn about these gentle giants, and although unusual they are incredible creatures created by God.

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