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No doubt yaks are pleasing to look at and own. Their great handlebar horns, water buffalo like shoulders, horse-like tail, and an extended hairy skirt put together with their particular docile behavior make for an unique appearance you can also enjoy observing for hours.
Yak newborns are agile, athletic, lively, and leap and run around like excited horses with the tails held high above their backs. Yaks aren’t loud livestock. They talk in quiet grunts, snorts and head shakes. Yaks are extremely intelligent, curious, independent, serene, mellow, and very quiet animals that make them a pleasure to raise.
Thus of their unique heritage of thriving in high mountainous locations with great temperature extreme conditions they are extremely hardy and suitable for places that are traditionally considered inhospitable to livestock. They enjoy the cold, dry conditions and need no special shelter or diets.
Yak calves, cattle and steers easily get halter trained, and can make good pets or 4H task livestock. They are a great choice for packing and trekking purposes. An adult yak can pack incredible weight through rough tremendous mountain terrain more surefooted than horses or mules. Certainly not needing shoes, they are trail friendly and need little more than browsing along the way. They also can be confined with horses and combined for a special pack string.
These animals are normally very hardy and disease resistant. Their great wooly coat includes 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 begins naturally shedding their dainty undercoat. Yak owners help this along by combing out their yaks and getting the down. It is then washed and refined the same as the fiber got from sheep and other fiber animals.
An old yak produces roughly one pound of down per annum. Yak fiber is very 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 un-usual crimp. This is wonderful for sewn and knitted garments, additionally; yak down is a wonderful fiber when felt.
Most uniquely is the taste and advantage of yak meat which is quite possibly the healthiest and juicy tasting meat on the meat market. Yak meat averages 96% lean red meat and rates very low in the “bad” Palmitic acid and saturated fats linked with heart problems and high cholesterol.
It is also quite high in proteins and iron, and the “good” oleic acids and poly-unsaturated fats. It has a scrumptious and delicate beef flavor which is never gamey or greasy and is even less in fat than salmon. Testing has proven that nine out of ten individuals will prefer yak meat over beef, bison or elk.