What I've learned from (and about) Yaks 107

I’m no expert, but I can guarantee that if you are cold, our yaks are not!  Yaks can survive temperatures as low as -40 degrees.

 
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They have a dense undercoat covered by a layer of guard hair.  This combination keeps them warm and dry. The undercoat is what we comb out each spring.  We can use this amazing wool to spin into yarn and make wonderfully warm garments. The guard hair can be used also.  The Tibetans use it to braid into belts and ropes and such.



 
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Their thick hide also protects them from the cold.  Fat is concentrated just below the surface of their skin adding still more protection.  The hide is used in Tibet to form the walls of their nomadic tents. Yak meat is not marbled because of the placement of the fat in their bodies.  This makes the meat very lean and nutritious.

The warmer it gets the higher their rate of respiration goes.  This helps them to adjust to varying climates.


 
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Their thick hide also protects them from the cold.  Fat is concentrated just below the surface of their skin adding still more protection.  The hide is used in Tibet to form the walls of their nomadic tents. Yak meat is not marbled because of the placement of the fat in their bodies.  This makes the meat very lean and nutritious.

The warmer it gets the higher their rate of respiration goes.  This helps them to adjust to varying climates.


Another source of heat for yaks is their digestive system.  As food is digested it is heated at a temperature of 104 degrees.  This helps to warm them on the most frigid of days.

 
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As the snow piles up, yaks are easily able to navigate through it.  They use their horns to plow it out of the way so they can move around and find tidbits to eat under the snow.  (Don’t forget, both males and females have horns-and yes the calves are born with little nubs.)

The conformation or build of the yaks is also an advantage to them in bitter weather.  They are able to conserve energy because of their stocky build. Their short legs and thickset bodies make it easier to heat.

So, from the perspective of yaks, winter is great!!!



 

 
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SUZANNE DRUMM

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.

bentwoodalpacasyaks@gmail.com