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Yaks are pleasing to look at and own. Their large handlebar horns, buffalo like shoulders, horse-like tail, and an extended hairy skirt mixed with their particular docile tendencies make for an exotic appearance you can enjoy watching for hours.
Yak babies are agile, athletic, lively, and leap and run like excited horses with the tails held high over their backs. Yaks aren’t loud livestock. They communicate in quiet grunts, snorts and head shakes. Yaks are extremely intelligent, interested, independent, serene, mellow, and very quiet animals that make them an honour to keep.
Thus of their unique heritage of flourishing in high mountainous areas with great temperature extremes they can be extremely hardy and well suited for environments that are traditionally considered inhospitable to animals. these animals enjoy the cold, dry conditions and require no special shelter or diets.
Yak calves, cattle and steers easily get halter trained, and do make great pets or 4H task livestock. They are a great choice for packing plus trekking purposes. An adult yak can pack tremendous weight through rough mountainous terrain more surefooted than horses or mules. Certainly not needing shoes, they are trail friendly and require little more than browsing along the way. They also can be confined with horses and mixed for a special pack string.
These animals are naturally very hardy and disease resistant. Their great wooly coat consists of an outer safeguard hair and a fine inner hair called down. The down provides efficiency against the cold winter months. Each spring as the weather warms, the yak start naturally shedding their dainty undercoat. Yak owners help this along by brushing out their livestock and collecting the down. It is then washed and refined the same as the fiber got from sheep and other fiber livestock.
An old yak produces approximately one pound of down per year. Yak fiber is very soft and luxurious. It truly is near to Qiviut (musk ox down) and compares in softness and warmness to Cashmere. Yak fiber is not slippery and can be easily spun. The micron count of yak is around 15-18. It has a short staple 1/2? – 2? with an un-usual crimp. It is great for weaved and knitted garments, additionally; yak down is a great fiber when felt.
Most uniquely is the taste and advantage of yak meat which is simply possibly the healthiest and good tasting meat on the market. Yak meat averages 96% lean red meat and rates extremely low in the “bad” Palmitic acid plus saturated fats linked with cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol.
It is also quite high in protein and iron, and the “good” oleic acids and poly-unsaturated fats. It has a delightful and delicate beef flavor which is never gamey or greasy and is even less in fat than salmon. Tests have proven that 9 out of ten individuals will prefer yak meat over beef, bison or elk.