What I've learned from (and about) Yaks 106
I’m no expert, but here is what I know about Yak ranchers. The decision to raise yaks is not always made for the same reasons. As a matter of fact, there are dozens of reasons.
We’ll start with those looking for a unique “pet” for their yard. We actually bought our first yaks from a hobby farmer. The residential neighborhood we drove through to get to her place to load the animals was a shock to us. She probably had about an acre of land and 8 yaks out back. Yaks are generally fine in a setting like this. They are usually friendly and calm. If they decide to roam the neighbors may not like it though. (We had a call from another woman looking for someone to round up her yaks and take them home with them.)
Yaks have amazing fiber. There are farmers whose primary focus is on this aspect. They are very dedicated to constant grooming and wool collection. They spin, knit, crochet, weave, etc. The end results are phenomenal.
Of course we have all heard about and hopefully tasted the wonderful yak meat. Some farms focus primarily on raising yaks for slaughter. There is a high demand for the delicious and nutritious protein.
Many farms raise their yak herd for both meat and fiber (and possibly the wow factor). There are many rewards in taking this avenue.
A farmer who decides to take it one step farther and milk their yaks would definitely have a market for their products. Not only can they sell milk, but they could make yogurt and cheeses from it.
A farmer could chose to have a yak packing operation. I personally don’t know anyone who does this with yaks, but we have friends with a successful llama packing business.
Most of the yakkers I know have more than one type of animal on their farm. Usually one species is not enough!
If you can believe it, I just watched a video of yak racing! In China they actually mount the yaks and run them down a track!!
Okay, let’s not forget the most important reason of all to raise yaks. We love them.
My husband and I have raised our family of 6 children in our favorite place on earth, Tully, NY. Sixteen years ago we built our home and decided we wanted to raise livestock. He was raised on a dairy farm and my father was a veterinarian, so animals were a part of who we were and we wanted our kids to know the value of a hard days’ work. Our first venture was with alpacas. We did it all: breeding, vet bills, shows, seminars, trips, visits, and a lot of buying and selling. Of course there were ups and downs with mistakes and successes along the way.
Being on the iyak board is an honor and I promise to do my best. I am still learning as I go and am awed by the knowledge and dedication of the board members. As I become more comfortable with my role, I hope to be able to contribute more.