In our search for what livestock are right for us, I heard a lot of good things about yak. These Tibetan relatives of the typical cow are quite beautiful and unique! Like buffalo, they have leaner meat and can produce a useable milk. I was delighted to find out that Hooper’s yak ranch, home of one of the largest herds in the U.S., was in Minnesota. Thanks to the graciousness of John Hooper, we were able to visit and meet the yak this past spring. I can’t wait until we can get our own babies and start a small herd! It's still a few years off but I'm excited already.
The yaks were very tame and personable!
Vantid and an adult female yak (they are quite small!)
I love their fuzzy tails so much.
Me posing with one of the females.
Jericho’s horns were so heavy they have developed this unique downward curve.
A yak/cow hybrid – hence the brindle coloration and different look.
Hybrid yaks grow more quickly and larger than purebred yak.
Jericho’s size and calm demeanor were amazing!
One really appealing thing about yak is that the females do not have to be milked when they are producing - they will only 'let down' what is being used, so unlike a dairy cow, which is a huge commitment of time during her productive period, you can get small amounts from a yak when you want it. We don't consume a lot of dairy and mostly want milk for making cheeses - so this is a great compromise! I would like to eventually get a few babies to bottle feed, once we have our fence completed and set up for animals. John is actually able to ride some of his yak and has traditional ceremonial garb for them. He was a really kind man and also showed us his collection of Tibetan artifacts. After our trip to the farm we had a fantastic lunch at a restaurant who used John's yak meat, a Tibetan place in Minneapolis. It was delicious! We also brought home some meat and made burgers and a roast - it was delicious, much more flavorful and lean than cow meat but not altogether different.
http://www.yak-man.com/ – The yak man offers yak meat as well as animals for sale. If you’re in the midwest and interested in yak I highly recommend contacting him!