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No doubt yaks are pleasing to look at and own. Their large handlebar horns, buffalo look alike shoulders, horse-like tail, and a lengthy hairy skirt put together with their particular docile habit make for an amazing appearance you can enjoy observing for hours.
Yak newborns are agile, athletic, playful, and leap and run like excited horses with their tails held high over their backs. Yaks are certainly not loud livestock. They connect in quiet grunts, snorts and head shakes. Yaks are very intelligent, curious, independent, serene, mellow, and very quiet animals that make them a pleasure to raise.
Because of their unique heritage of flourishing in high mountainous areas with great temperature extremes they are extremely hardy and suitable for areas that are traditionally considered inhospitable to animals. They enjoy the cold, dry conditions and require no unique shelter or diets.
Yak calves, cattle and steers easily become halter trained, and do make great pets or 4H project animals. They are an outstanding choice for packing plus trekking purposes. An adult animal can pack incredible weight through rough tremendous mountain terrain more surefooted than horses or mules. Not really needing shoes, they are trail friendly and require little more than browsing along the way. They also may be confined with horses and mixed for a special pack string.
Yaks are naturally very hardy and disease tolerant. Their great wooly coat includes an outer safeguard hair and a fine inner hair called down. The down provides insulation against the cold winter time. Each spring as the weather warms, the yak start naturally shedding their downy undercoat. Yak owners help this along by combing out their yaks and getting the down. It is then cleaned and prepared the same as the fiber from sheep and other fiber livestock.
An adult yak produces roughly one pound of down per annum. Yak fiber is quiet soft and luxurious. It truly is near to Qiviut (musk ox down) and even comes close in softness and warmth to Cashmere. Yak fiber is not slippery and may be easily spun. The micron count of this livestock is 15-18. It has a short staple 1/2? – 2? with an irregular crimp. This is great for weaved and knitted garments, also; yak down is a nice fiber when felt.
Most uniquely is the taste and advantage of yak meat which is quite possibly the healthiest and best tasting meat on the meat market. Yak meat takes up 96% lean red meat and rates very low in the “bad” Palmitic acid plus saturated fats linked with heart disease and high cholesterol.
It is also high in necessary 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 lower in fat than salmon. Tests have proven that 9 out of ten individuals will prefer yak meat over beef, bison or elk.