Posted by: alaskayaks | March 11, 2011

There’s a Yak in My House–No, Make That TWO!!

When we purchased the yak herd I immediately started a search for cool yak books for kids. Something that would really pique the interest of our three grandchildren. I came up with a few really neat ones but the title that has struck closest to home is the one called “There’s A Yak In My Bed” by K. Pluta and illustrated by Christy Stallop.  While I’ve never actually had a yak in my bed, I have slept with yaks in various places around the house and in hotels (yes, I said hotels! Well, today I have TWO yaks in my house. Drifter and Mariah are both in this morning and keeping them company is my Airedale, Chet.

Drifter moved out of the house three days ago at 9 days old, definitely the longest time we’ve ever kept a calf inside thanks to the extreme cold and wind we’ve had most of the winter. He’s now unhappily living outside in the 12×12 petting pen. Unhappily for him! I am kinda liking not having a baby yak peeing all over my floor and tearing around the kitchen/dining area; under the kitchen island; doing laps around the livingroom…it was more than time he headed out the door to live the life of a “real” yak! We both suffered from separation anxiety for the first two days, though! In the next few days he’ll get to spend more time interacting with the herd and then he’ll spend his days with them except during feeding time when, if he’s like the other “bottle babies” he’ll come tearing out of the pasture at the sound of “How much is that baby yak in the window.” (Sung to the tune of “How Much is That Doggie in the Window.”)

Mariah was born yesterday afternoon to Weasel. I’d been watching her close for the past several days as she looked big enough to pop and since she didn’t calve last summer, I knew she’d be one of the early ones this year. My observations were very correct as yesterday morning I could tell she was beginning labor. (Don’t ask me how, I just can…it’s something only a “yak mom” can do!) By three in the afternoon I noticed her sneaking off to the far reaches of the 9 acre pasture. She realized (good mom that she is!), that the snow was too deep in that area to give birth so she snuck back to more “civilized” places (which is really out of character for Weasel). At about 3:40 she “plopped” out a heifer calf and then the “fun” began. I gave her about 45 minutes to get it cleaned up and dried off  which is accomplished by momma yak licking the baby dry. Yes! I said “licking” the baby dry. If you’ve ever been licked by a yak, you would know how that’s possible. Baby was strong, alert, and active but just wouldn’t stand. At 15 degrees Fahrenheit you don’t give those little ones much time to lay around or the cold (and the cold ground) sucks the life out of them.   The short version is I got it away from Weasel and into the house, dried off the rest of the way, warmed up and fed. She had taken a fall or blow to the nose which has slowed down her sucking ability but she’s doing good and should be reunited with her Momma by later tonight or tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Drifter is in here to keep her company (and to pee on the floor) –so, I have two yaks in my house, at least for today.

Gee, I hope no one else decides to calve today!

Mariah--less than 24 hrs. old--sleeping in the house



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