Sunday, April 3, 2011

Yacking About Yaks

Poor Guy, I had enough questions to drowned a floatation device. The yak owner, John, was a good sport though and tried to answer them as best as he could. Unfortunately for him, me being me, had lots of technical ones and John admitted he had no prior livestock knowledge and was raising yaks for the shear pleasure of it - not scientific discoveries. Oops, maybe I was drilling him a tad too much. I was a good girl though and backed off. I know mentally that everyone does things for different reasons but being the extremely inquisitive person that I am, I what to know the why's for everything. It is one of my greatest pleasures in life. The excitement of discovery.Often my inquiring mind isn't really because I'm so adventuresome. It's because knowledge usually makes me less uncomfortable and afraid of things, empowering me with a set of options and a slight bit of control. I don't always find surprising delightful. You could probably say that I'm just a really big chicken.

You mothers can probably imagine how I must have driven my mother nuts when I was little. "How come the sky is blue Mommy? How come - How come- How come-? Okay, maybe I'm still that little girl and though Mom hasn't admitted it, I probably still drive her nuts.

Of course she can probably say nanner, nanner, nanner, because the shoe is sometimes on the other foot as it was yesterday. "Grandma, is it really true that I have eggs in me, asked our oldest grand daughter, who's six? "There not like chicken eggs though, Grandma." Where did that one come from? LOL


I greatly appreciate John's patience and his graciousness in allowing us to come and view yaks up close for the first time. Pretty cool, aren't they? This cow is my favorite. John, bless him, couldn't give me the finer points of conformation that a show ring judge would be looking for but I declared that I thought number 55 was the best cow in the bunch.

My favorite, hands down, was number 7, the bull. He really should have been given the name Gentle Ben. I lost my heart as I fed him cake, livestock cake that is, a feed supplement in a large pellet form. He came right up to me and stretched his neck out, every so carefully taking the feed from my hand. He then just stood next to me as I stroked his long haired face. I've ridden some bulls in my time as a kid, not something I'd recommend for our grand daughters, but I'd put them on this guy. He'd probably take good care of them. Wish I was little. I'd try riding a yak. What shocked up the most, was how small yaks are. Granted, the bulls we have been looking at on the Internet are big, not tall, but big - some 1780 pounds. The cows are 600 - 800 pounds and the calves average 35 pounds at birth. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see any calves. They are so cute and little on the Internet. And though I could feed cake to these cows, they were flighty and really quick.
If you, like me, want a yak of your own, there are some stipulations your area must have. High elevation and cold winters are a must. They can't handle the heat. It was one of the questions asked of us when we inquired about buying yaks. I told the ranch in Montana, they'd feel right at home with our elevation, occasional 50 below zero Fahrenheit windchills and howling winds.

This gal is an Imperial Trim. How do I know? The Internet of course for I've been studying about yaks. One gentlemen who had a few head in Colorado said there was lots of information on the Internet. He didn't know to whom he was speaking to for I find the information very sketchy and it doesn't cover nearly all my questions. LOL

It did inform me of the breeds though. We haven't many as no yaks have been exported from their native countries in 100 years. All ours in the U.S.A. have come from zoos in Europe. So I can tell you that this is a Imperial Trim because she is a cross between an Imperial yak and a Royal yak. The dark nose and body hair tells me she from an Imperial and the white spot on her forehead tells me she is from a Royal, which has large black and white splotches.The cow on the right is older as her horns are starting to curl.
Maturity is reached at 5 to 6 years old.This is a yearling bull and the size we are buying.

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