Alaska Yak Facts
REASONS WHY TIBETAN YAKS ARE THE
VERY BEST OF ALL LIVESTOCK ANIMALS FOR ALASKA
MADE FOR ALASKA
Yak are native to the high Himalayan plateau of Tibet where over thousands of years they have provided great diversity of use to a great culture of people. That these peoples not only survived, but thrived in an extremely harsh environment relates directly to their dependency and utilization of their great Yak. Yak have extreme cold-weather hardiness but also are low elevation tolerant. Alaska is ideally suited for their inherent natural attributes. Most importantly, in Alaska where so many elements work against a prudent business plan related to raising, producing and maintaining livestock, Yak actually thrive in our environment, consume less feed and are the most diversified of all livestock animals in relation to value added concepts.
GREAT FOR ALASKA’S YOUTH
Yaks are magnificent animals that are pleasant to watch or spend time with. They add a uniqueness to any pasture they are in. Yak are very intelligent, athletic and a joy to train. As such, they are ideally suited for agricultural programs for Alaska’s youth to raise, train, enjoy and reap the benefit of producing a valuable commodity. Whether it be fiber, food, ridding/pack animal, starting their own herd, helping others to do the same or just the inherent value of having a responsibility that can be rewarding and fun in many ways.
BEST TASTING MEAT
Yak meat may well be the best tasting meat in the world. It has a sweet, juicy, delicious beef like taste that is gourmet in quality. Nine out of ten people in blind taste tests prefer the taste of Yak over bison, elk or high quality beef.
HEALTHIEST RED MEAT
Yak meat may well be the healthiest red meat in the world. Naturally very lean, but also high in Omega 3s and CLAs, low in saturated fats, cholesterol, triglycerides and very low in Palmitic acid compared to beef. Healthier than skinless chicken and fish. Yak meat is a red meat which helps combat cardiovascular diseases by keeping cholesterol in check and offers heart patients a new opportunity in fine dining. It also offers athletes a diet exceptionally rich in body building proteins, minerals, vitamins, and the right fats for building muscle and good health.
LESS EXPENSIVE TO RAISE AND MAINTAIN
Yak consume one percent of their body weight in forage per day compared to a beef animal which consumes three percent. What this means is that an average yak cow will consume 6 to 8 pounds of expensive Alaska hay per day when a beef cow will consume approximately 30 to 40 pounds.
HIGHER WEIGHT GAIN RATIO
Weight gain per pound of feed for yak is higher than that of beef which means you need less forage or expensive feed for higher weight gain ratio.
NATURALLY DISEASE RESISTANT FOR ALASKA
Yaks have a natural high resistance to diseases. Alaska’s climate will help to continue this great trait. As Alaskans, we have an inherent responsibility of maintaining good health in our livestock by using preventive programs that will protect our wildlife populations. Yak naturally help to accomplish and sustain this mandatory requirement.
Yak are generally easy to keep in and require no more fencing that beef cows and do not require any special winter shelter. Calves will explore the green grass on the other side of the fence so precautions like an electric line or woven fence may be required to keep them from exploring new habitats. Naturally, when breeding age bulls are separated from the cows they must have special fencing to retain them.
BROWSERS – GRAZERS
Yak are browsers and grazers and as such, do well on a variety of Alaskan pastures. They love their grass but also do well on Alaska’s sedges, willow and other deciduous brush which in certain pastures actually will help to clear land and keep it clear of unwanted growth.
AT HOME ON ALASKA’S TRAILS
With thousands of years use in the Himalayas as riding, trekking, pack and draught animals, Yaks truly offer a unique, functional and minimal impact addition to Alaska’s back country. At home in the alpine, more sure footed than mules or horses, incredible strength combined with their natural docile behavior, it is no wonder that Yaks still represent the main source of access for supplies and support staff to the Mount Everest base camps. In Alaska, the year around recreational and tourism support potential for this great animal is unlimited.
NATURALLY GUARD AGAINST PREDATORS
Yaks have great natural herd and family instincts which makes them extra great livestock for Alaska. Woe be on the wolf, coyote or bear who challenges the yak herd. Like muskoxen, yak will herd up when a bear or a wolf comes by and you will not see the calves within the circle of protection. But unlike muskoxen, yak will actually advance on the predator and fight to their death to protect their family members or their young.
HIGH DIVERSITY OF UNIQUE IN DEMAND CHARACTERISTICS
For the consumer/investor looking for true diversity, yaks offer real profits right now in; gourmet meat production, in healthiest meat offerings for health conscious consumers and athletes, in luxurious and functional wool production for spinners and weavers, in premium leather, hides, skulls and hair for artists, craftsmen and furniture makers, for packing, trekking, riding and pulling animal disciplines, in visually enjoyable breeding stock for exotic animal raisers or crossbreeding for pioneering cattle raising to produce the highest quality red meat in the world, or exploring the great potential for sweet, rich milk, butter, and cheese, Yaks truly represent the best and most diversified livestock for Alaska.
If you want to actually get to know some Alaskan Yaks, schedule a visit to Robert and Barbara Fithian’s Circle F Ranch in Lower Tonsina but be warned, once you go Yak you never go Back!
The above is courtesy of Bobby Fithian and the International Yak Association
Circle F Ranch
Bobby & Barb Fithian
HC60 Box 299C
Copper Center, Alaska 99573
Come Visit Us At:
Lower Tonsina, AK
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