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Articles on Yaks




We all believe that YAKS are the right animals to be raising. But do we know why we should be choosing specific yaks for our operation? Do we know what traits we should be looking for? Do we know all the traits that are available to us in the yak breed, and which of these traits should be important for us to consider?

The more we know about all yaks traits available to us, the better it is to make wise choices for our operations/ needs; ant the better advice we can give to those people who are looking to get into raising yaks for their own operations/needs. The better involved, and will minimize poor choices and discontent among yak owners/breeders. The more success we have meeting needs/desires, the more success we will have in raising yaks and promoting yaks to all interested parties, both for enjoyment and monetary rewards.


Bottom Fisher Yak Buyers

Meat Yak Buyers

Wool/Hair Yak Buyers

Pasture Pet Yak Buyers

Eye Candy Yak Buyers

Pack Yak Buyers

Guard Yak Buyers

Exotic Animal Yak Buyers

Pure Genetic Seedstock Yak Buyers

Unique Trait Yak Buyers

Each of these types of buyers have their own preferred Yak traits that are important to them. We should know which of our yaks' traits are most important to meet the needs of that particular buyer, in order to maximize enjoyment and monetary return for all parties involved. Let's look at each type of buyer to learn which traits are most appropriate for success for that buyer. Note: There will be some overlap of beneficial traits for each type of Yak Buyer.

Bottom Fisher Yak Buyers

This type of buyer is simply looking for the cheapest yaks they can find, always looking for the lowest cost, regardless of the quality of yaks we have to offer. We should sell to this type of buyer only if we have little to offer in quality traits in our yaks; or we have an immediate monetary need to sell and cant wait to find a more appropriate buyer. Especially for this type of Yak buyer, but also true for most Yak sales, always ask for cash on pickup or delivery. If we are delivering, get cash first before we are too invested in the trip. Some of these bottom fishers are legitimate, but some are simply scam artists preying on naive and desperate sellers. Don't allow this type of yak buyer ton influence our pricing and marketing decisions.

Meat Yak Buyers

Meat Yak Buyers are looking for the larger and faster growing yaks primarily, unless they see the asset of the cheaper carrying costs of the mid-sized female yaks, which have seller feed requirements to carry them through the year. We often hear differing stocking rates of our yak females in different yak herds, ranging from 2 to 3 times the stocking rare of beef breeds, up to 4 times the stocking rate of beef breeds. The differing rates re directly due to the size of the yak females involved. The smaller the size of the female yields a higher stocking rate in the pastures, yielding lower carrying costs. For meat purposes, the highest net profits come from lesser costs for smaller"grade" females, and having them bred by a much larger, muscled Yak bull. These large muscled Yak bulls will command a higher price than meat steers or meat bulls, but a lesser price then an higher genetic quality bull, including good wool producers, or other yak bulls with unique genetic characteristics.


Wool/ Hair Yak Buyers

Wool/ Hair Yak Buyers are looking for a higher genetic quality yak, producing primarily more quality yak wool, rather than the long guard hair. This quality soft yak wool commands a very high price and is much in demand. This type of yak commands a higher price than a grade yak or a meat quality yak, although positive meat characteristics may add more value on top of the wool genetic value. Additional value traits are docility of the yak, ease of handling, less guard hair, and often smaller sized females for more ease of handling. Royals, White and Golden Yaks often command a higher price for the higher value of the white wool and the golden colored wool. For wool harvesters, the extra long guard hair, especially on their back and sides, may interfere with the wool collection.On the other hand, the long guard hair may add visual intrigue, especially if the wool harvesting is not the primary need/ desire. 

Pasture Pet Yak Buyers

Pasture Pet Yak Buyers are primarily interested in the docility of the yak, for easy handling. The more handling and halter training that we put into the yak, the higher is the intrinsic value of the yak. Pasture pet buyers are often looking for a cheaper cost yak, just to keep costs down, and may not care for the higher genetic qualities of the yak. However, if there is also interest in the wool, genetic value definitely enters into the price of the yak. We need to remind potential buyers that yaks are herd animals and must always be sold in pairs (or more) so they can have a buddy for self assurance and friendship. Pasture pet buyers are often interested in the Royals for their additional eye appeal. 

Eye Candy Yak Buyers

Eye Candy Yak Buyers are looking for the most eye appeal in our yaks. The traits they are looking for include the Hairy "Woolly" yaks, the White yaks, the Golden yaks, the Handle Bar shaped horns, the Skirt reaching to the ground, and usually desire easy handling, docile yaks. Size isn't as important for these buyers. Since this buyer is interested in specific genetic qualities in these yaks, they are willing to spend more money for these special traits. 

Pack Yak Buyers

Pack Yak Buyers are looking for very docile yaks, primarily steers to handle larger pack weights. unless they are also looking for other traits, like wool or color, they generally are looking for lesser cost yaks. But the more handling and training we put into our yaks, the more value is perceived by the buyer.

Guard Yak Buyers

Guard Yak Buyers are interested in relatively inexpensive yak steers to be used to guard their sheep or goats from wild animals like coyotes, wolves, wild dogs and mountain lions. Yak Steers make good guard animals due to their lack of fear of these wild animals, and willingness to confront these perceived threats. Again, it is best to have well trained yak steers that are very docile, that can be easily handled and actually treated as pets.

Exotic Animal Yak Buyers

Exotic Animal Yak Buyers are experienced breeders of all kinds of exotic animals. They are looking for very unique, high genetic quality animals that are at the front lines of public acceptance and demand. Yaks fit that demand perfectly right now. Yaks are just now becoming known and desired by they American public, with numbers of breeders increasing dramatically in these past few years. Exotic animal breeders are always looking for that next new breed of animals to capture the interest of the public curiosity for something new to raise. They are looking for very high quality genetics in our yaks, especially with very unique characteristics, like the Royal color pattern, White yaks, Golden yaks, Super Hairy yaks; anything out of the ordinary. Yaks are now primed to be the "Next Big Deal" in Exotics. We are the front end of the bell shaped curve for pricing in our yaks as demand is rising for this awesome animal. Ripe segments of the Exotic animal world considering buying our yaks are Bison breeders, Elk breeders, Llama breeders, Alpaca breeders, Ostrich breeders, various Goat breeders (Pygmy, Boar, Cashmere, etc). These exotic animal breeds are all past their prime for development as they are formerly profitable breed segments. Yaks are front and center for that "Next Big Deal"exotic breed for profit potential in the American Marketplace.

Pure Genetic Seedstock Yak Buyers

Pure Genetic Seedstock Yak Buyers are those breeders that are looking to breed for genetic purity within the yak population. Over thousands of years yaks have been crossbred with many cattle breeds and bison. Most (maybe all) yaks are hybrids of some sort., with various percentages of cattle interogression. Some of our breeders are actively pursuing the "Purest" yak genetics possible. We have only recently been given the scientific capability to find the purest yaks possible, and sort out the genetic traits that are from cattle or bison origin versus pure yak origin. Obviously these discoveries will tell us a lot about our yaks, and will give more value to our yaks overall.

Unique Trait Yak Buyers

Unique Trait Yak Buyers are those of us looking to breed something different from most yaks out there. We don't want to breed "more of the same". We want to offer unique traits that are eye appealing, striking in appearance, offering value to buyers that want to be different from the pack. Since most yaks are black with gray noses (These are called Native Blacks), unique characteristics include Royal color pattern, White Color, Golden Color, Golden Royal color pattern, Black nose (Imperial), Super Hairy (Super Woolly), Polled, as well as other color traits not found in America.The more unique, in terms of appearance, and in terms of numbers of yaks available with those traits, the more value is added to our breeding programs. 



Appearance/Personality: The Tibetan Yak has a truly striking exotic appearance. With handlebar horns, buffalo humped shoulders, horse-like tail, and a long hairy skirt reaching almost to the ground; they are very pleasing to the eye. When these features are combined with a golden color and/or a royal coloring pattern (black or golden with large segments of white coloring) Yaks have an exotic appearance you can enjoy watching for hours. Yak babies are agile, athletic, playful, and leap and run like excited horses with their tails held high over their backs. Yaks do not bellow, bawl, or moo. Instead they communicate in quiet grunts, snorts and head shakes. Yaks are extremely intelligent, curious, independent, serene, mellow, and quiet animals that make them a pleasure to raise. If raised as a pasture pet, they will respond to you as a pet, always seeking attention and responding in turn with appreciation and with real personality. If raised on a ranch with minimum interaction, they quickly recognize and accept their caretakers as friendly and are not aggressive, as long as the caretaker knows how to communicate with their Yaks, and establish their leadership position in the Yak's pecking order.


Size, Growth, and Maturity: Adult Yak cows range in weight from 600 to 700 pounds and stand 4.5 feet at the shoulders, while Yak bulls range from 1200 to 1400 pounds and stand 5.5 feet at the shoulders. Full size is achieved in six to eight years. Yak heifers conceive at eighteen to twenty-four months of age and calve at two and one-half years. Gestation is 8.5 months. Calving of the twenty-five to thirty-five pound babies appears effortless, problem free, and finished before you can find your camera. Scours are extremely rare, and only occur in extremely wet and muddy conditions. Yak udders are very small, yielding low quantities of extremely rich milk. Newborn babies are up and running in minutes, grow rapidly, and are exceptionally disease-resistant and cold hardy due to their wool coat. Yak bulls are considered breeders at 3 to 4 years of age. Yaks breed and calve far longer than cattle since Yaks live 20-25 years. Your breeding animal replacement costs will drop 50% to 75%. Yak bulls must be raised with cattle if they are to become cattle breeders.


Easy to Keep: Yaks do not require any special permits or licenses. Your standard cattle facilities are more than adequate to raise and work with Yaks. Since Yaks do not "walk the fence line", and are not unruly in their pasture, a simple 4-strand barbed wire fence is all that is required. Yaks are extremely observant and aware of their surroundings, and are suspicious of strangers. They are not belligerent, but rather are quite easy to move and direct with the help of a long stick as a visual aid and guide. Yak mothers are exceptionally protective of their own calves, as well as other calves in the herd, from any perceived threat including dogs and coyotes. If an intruder enters their safe-space they will give a series of grunt-snort warnings combined with head shakes before further protective measures are taken. Calves will be protected from anyone or anything intent on causing harm. At weaning there is no bellowing or mooing. The only sounds are simple grunts. Weaning is accepted and life goes on within a couple of days. There is no real stress shown by the mothers, the calves, or the owners. You can literally wean these animals in the field next to your bedroom and not lose any sleep.


Cheap to Keep: Yaks are at home at high mountainous elevations with great temperature extremes. They are exceedingly cold hardy and disease resistant. Birthing ease in Yaks comes naturally with 25-35 pound calves. You will be amazed at the ease and the speed of the Yak's birth. Your vet bills will be virtually non-existent. Yaks thrive in our high elevation cold winters. They prefer to eat snow rather than drink water. They prefer to use shade shelters with open sides, or the shelter of trees. You'll see Yaks kicking up their heels and holding their heads and tails high during a blizzard, actually enjoying the weather we dread. God designed them for high elevation winters. On hot summer days, Yaks beat the heat by panting like a dog, wading into streams and ponds, and laying in the shade of trees. No buildings or structures are required. The stocking rate of Yak is three or four times that of commercial cattle. In other words, you can pasture four Yak cows on the same acreage as you can one commercial cow, and two Yak bulls on the same acreage as one commercial bull. A commercial cow eats twenty-five pounds of forage per day, while a Yak cow eats seven to eight pounds of forage per day and never needs grain. According to a University of Nebraska study, Yak steers only need six pounds of forage to gain one pound of body weight, while cattle and bison need eight pounds and twelve pounds respectively. Additionally, the Yak steer can be finished on grass alone. Yaks do not need or utilize grain, hormones, steroids, or antibiotic feed supplements to maintain excellent health and growth, nor are these items desirable. New studies show grain finishing of cattle causes liver abscesses in cattle, slows immune responses, as well as causes more saturated fats in the meat. And of course many studies in beef animals show hormones, steroids, fed antibiotics cause immune bacterial strains and may stimulate cancers in humans, and slow human immune response.


Yak Crossbreeding: Yak can crossbreed with any cattle breed. While the offspring females are extremely fertile, the males are sterile. Easy calving, low birth weights (40-50 pounds), super hardy calves with natural protection from the cold, calves more hardy at five days than their mother, naturally disease resistant, all yield high production rates. For cattleman this is the ideal situation for your first calf heifers! The hybrid vigor is impressive, yielding very rapid growth characteristics. The half Yak cow may be the ideal breeding female, with a stocking rate per acre over twice that of a commercial cow. The half Yak bull is sterile, but castration is still necessary. Hybrid vigor growth rates yields an early optimum sized feeder earlier than with fullblood yaks, while nearly maintaining the feed efficiency and meat characteristics of the Yak.

Sustainable Innovation in Meat

Production with Yaks, 


By Robert Hasse

I'm not sure I can point to a single (one) innovation that made a difference in the business of raising animals for healthy sustainable meat production. It is really a paradigm shift in thinking away from today's commercial beef production methods and expectations; which are truly unsustainable in every way: and towards a new business model based on raising yaks.

Commercial beef production has gross profit margins too small to be able to pay for the true costs of land ownership. There is no way to justify the the costs of investment in the purchase of land to graze commercial beef cows. All commercial beef operations rely on free or cheap land in one form or another; whether it is land inherited from parents (free with no or little monetary investments required), or public land with cheap grazing rights costs, or rental of unused private grazing lands at far below sustainable rates for the value of the land.

Commercial beef cows are hard on the land, trampling and damaging riparian areas, because of their size and weight as well as their dietary habits. They eat the quality grasses and forbes, leaving the weeds and shrubs to expand year to year, causing the pastures to deteriorate year after year. Of course, commercial feedlot practices are devastating to the environment as well as to the health of the animals themselves, and to the humans eating a very unhealthy meat product from these practices.

Emphasis historically in the last 50 years has been for fast growth producing more tender meat in less time. There has been little to no emphasis on feed intake efficiencies (pounds of forage to pounds of gain), or on healthy meat chemistry, or on impact to environment or human health.

I wanted initially to have the "idiot proof animal" . I wanted animals that required the least amount of human input. I was looking for disease resistance, feed intake efficiencies inherent in the animal, calving ease requiring no assistance, self-preservation capabilities in a hostile environment with wild predators, and able to produce a quality tender tasty healthy meat product.    Yaks became the obvious choice to meet these requirements.

Yak cows are lighter in weight than commercial beef cows, 600 pounds versus 1100 pounds, causing less damaging impact to the environment, especially fragile riparian areas. 

Yaks require far less water than beef cows, not only due to their smaller size, but also due to their extracting more water from their manure prior to defecation. 

Yaks require far less feed intake than beef cows. Yaks need 6 pounds of forage to 1 pound of gain, whereas beef cows require 8 to 10 pounds of forage to a pound of gain (depending on the breed size). Note: bison requires 12 pounds of forage to a pound of gain. Yaks utilize far more of the available forage in the pasture by being browsers as well as grazers. Yaks will eat everything in the pasture that is non-toxic. Yaks will eat most weeds, all course grasses that beef cows won't eat, shrubs of all kinds including fresh shoots of course shrubs like sage, willows, etc.

 Because yaks are smaller in size, require less feed for heat requirements in the winter due to their thick wool and hair coat, and eat a far wider ranging variety of forages than beef cattle; their stocking rate is 4 times the rate for beef cows. If your land is rated for 1 animal unit per acre, you can stock 4 yaks on that acre. Your production capabilities for pounds of meat per acre are dramatically raised by raising yaks rather than beef cows.

Because yaks can live in drier climates and higher elevations than most beef cattle can survive in, yaks can utilize more acreages unavailable to beef cows.

Yaks require less veterinarian care than beef cattle. Their disease resistance is impressive. We stopped all vaccinations about 10 years ago, because our yaks that did not get vaccinated were healthier than those that were vaccinated. In the many years we have raised yaks, most of which we did not vaccinate, we have never experienced a single bovine disease. West Nile Virus is the only disease that has impacted our herds, and there is no bovine vaccination for that disease. We do use an Ivermectin pour-on for parasites annually. We never have to pull a calf, or assist in any way; and have never experienced any deaths of cows or calves due to calving problems.

Yaks produce a tender small-grained sweet meat that is higher in omega 3's and CLA's than any other red meat, and they do this on grass alone, no grain input. Yak meat is naturally 97% lean overall, yet remains tender and juicy without marbling if not overcooked. Cut out percentages are almost identical to regular beef. 

The drawback to yaks meat production is slow growth and smaller size. It takes 3 years to produce a 1000 pound steer ready for butcher. This is the issue that causes some cattlemen to stumble, and not consider yaks for their operations. This is the paradigm shift in thinking that is required to make the change to considering raising of yaks. 

If cattlemen can get past the slow growth issue, they can experience an approximate 25% to 30% increase in net profits on the same land requirements that they would get for their beef steers, assuming receiving the same prices per cut of meat. But since the meat is so superior in health characteristics, and is superior in taste; profits can dramatically increase based on higher prices obtainable per cut of meat. When marketed properly, yaks can double or triple your net profits for the same investment in land, money, time and effort.

Marketing of these yak meat products is an essential requirement for success in this business. Education of the public in general about yaks is a big component for success. The American public has little to no knowledge of this animal. And few Americans have ever experienced this wonderful meat product. And the American public has been indoctrinated by the beef industry with a lot of misinformation. It takes a concerted effort to educate the American public in general, and your specific clients to the benefits of this meat.

We are successfully marketing our yaks and yak meat products to produce the profit margins detailed in this letter.
We invite other entrepreneurs to join us and participate in the production and marketing of this wonderful animal and its outstanding products.

Involvement with yaks will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment in helping preserve the environment, in supplying a truly superior meat product for the health and enjoyment of mankind, in building a sustainable business model with profits to support the proper use of the beautiful land we love, and to give pioneering people the ability to be self-sufficient in supplying the needs of their own families.

Hoping more families will join us in this effort,
Bob Hasse

Yak Rancher Robert Hasse Says He

is Raising the Perfect Animal


10/22/14 | By Krista Sherer |


YAKETY YAK   – Del Yaks owner Bob Hasse and some of his herd, on his ranch last week. (Photo by Krista Sherer)














MONTROSE – As far as Robert Hasse is concerned, the yak is the animal of the future. Hasse, the owner of Del Yaks, who has been a yak rancher for over 15 years, believes that the quality of their meat, as well as the yak’s intelligence and robust nature, makes it the best livestock choice for ranchers in the Rocky Mountain area.

Finding himself in early retirement after selling his medical battery business, Hasse and his family decided to raise livestock on a ranch they owned bordering National Forest lands in northern Nucla.

Hasse, who had been attending the National Western Stock Show for over 10 years,was close to settling on a few cattle breeds when he ran into some yak ranchers at the show.

“We wanted something that could handle themselves up against the National Forest, defend themselves against wild animals, be disease resistant, easy to handle, and have as little necessary human interaction as possible,” Hasse discovered.

“The yak guys that showed up at the National Western Stock show presented some interesting claims that worked with what I was looking for,and they were also giving away free yak burgers. When I tasted one, I knew that was exactly what I wanted.”

According to Hasse, yak meat tastes clean and sweet. It tastes more like beef than any other animal, and unlike elk and buffalo meat, does not have a gamey flavor.

Hasse says yak is one of the healthiest meats available; according to his website,, yak meat is 95 percent to 97 percent fat-free overall, and very juicy, thanks to a high percentage of Omega 3 oils, CLA’s ( Conjugated Linoleic Acids ), oleic acids and stearic acids.

It’s also low in palmitic acid, which is bad for us (boasting 30 percent less than beef than do beef fats, and 120 percent less than beef meat), and is higher in protein, solids, minerals, and vitamins than beef; while scoring much lower in saturated fats, cholesteral, triglycerides, and calories than beef.


GOLDEN YAK – A fourth-generation member of Del Yaks’ herd sire with the Royal Golden color pattern. (Photo by Krista Sherer)


When Hasse first started, he wanted the rarest breed he could find, and so  purchased 13 golden yaks; he now has a total of 175. “We bought all of the golden genes in the country that we could find,” he said. “Anybody who had one, we bought it.”

Most yaks are black or grey with a touch of white. Hasse, knowing the golden color was a recessive gene, decided to breed his yaks so they would all have a strain of golden in their bloodline. Del Yaks is now known as the foundation of the golden yak herd, featuring the most diverse breeding stock in North America.

Yaks are very hearty animals, Hasse says. “We do no vaccinations whatsoever. They have never had a bovine disease that I am aware of. They are very disease-resistant. We do parasite control, like any cattle breed, but one of the best things about the yak is their nature. They are very easy to deal with and very easy to handle.”

In temperament, the yak is intelligent (more so then beef cattle), and uses facial recognition to place a new creature of any kind. A dominant species, yaks do want to be in charge of everything in their pasture, and have been known to test or bluff-charge humans. That bluff-charge is intended to scare but not hurt humans, Hasse explained. “They are not mean. It’s only a test. Their goal is not to hit yo;, their goal is to get you to move.”

When Hasse first got into the business, he knew nothing about yaks; with no-one to teach him, he had a few standoffs with his yaks.

“They can run at you 90 miles an hour, and you either can not move, or you run at them. It’s a game of chicken,” Hasse said. “As long as you do it right they will either stop 3 feet in front of you, going from 90 mile an hour to a dead stop, or they will brush right by you without touching you. In either case, if you don’t flinch or move back from your position, you are the boss, you win and they will never test you again.”

Colorado is one of the best locations in the U.S. for yaks, with its high elevation, cold climate and low humidity. Yaks do suffer slightly in the summers here in Montrose County, Hasse said, “But mostly, they like shade in the summers and water to put their feet in. Montrose has a lot of water in the Uncompahgre Valley, and they love walking in the ditches and ponds. This is ideal for them.”

Hasse’s yaks offer wool as well as meat. “They have outstanding wool. It’s just like cashmere,” Hasse said, with physical characteristics “virtually identical to cashmere. Raw off the animal you can get $4 an ounce; a yearling can produce 4 to 5 pounds of wool. So the reoccurring money can be good.”

A yak cow will eat one-quarter the amount that a beef cow requires, and drink one-quarter the amount of water, and weighs about 600 pounds (roughly half the weight of a beef cow), making yak herds less destructive of the lands to which they have access. They don’t slide their feet along as they walk and create ruts, as do beef cows, and are agile and lighter on the ground.

Nor do yaks follow the same traffic patterns as beef cows, which eat only good grass, allowing weeds to flourish; instead, yaks eat everything in the pasture that is not poisonous. Because they eat everything, they improve their pasture, and are more environmentally sustainable than beef cows.

Hasse says yak milk is wonderful, but the cows only produce two quarts a day – not enough to be commercially viable, but enough, perhaps, for a small family. Yak milk is 25 percent butterfat, compared with cow milk’s 4 percent butterfat. Yak meat fat is healthy, as well, Hasse says, because the yak is not grain-fed.

“Our beef cattle are grain fed, and grain feeding destroys the fat and meat quality of any animal,” he says. “A grass-fed animal will yield meat that has a much higher Omega 3 and CLA [Conjugated Linoleic Acids] content in the fat, and will diminish the bad fats, such as trans fats, that are in a lot of the grain fed meats.”

Del Yaks also sells yak hides, yak skulls and yak hair, wool and tails. All of these items are sold on his website and have a high demand. These days, Hasse cannot supply enough meat or yak products for the demand. “We need more people raising yaks,” he says. “Yak ranching is not a fad. This is a sustainable, economically viable animal and its environmentally perfect. The only negative is slow growth”

Hasse says the biggest challenge to someone wanting to raise livestock is time. It takes five to seven years to be able to go “straight yak,” as Hasse puts it. To someone wanting a quick turn around in the ranching business, this can be too long.

But, he says, “a retired person who owns 20 to 40 acres is the perfect person for yak ranching. Or a rancher that wants to transfer over from beef cattle that has money and doesn’t need the immediate return, but wants more money in the long run. You can literally double your profit once you’re established, on the same land, with yaks versus cattle.”

“We also sell a lot of yaks for pets,” he says. “They make great pets because of their intelligence and ability to become very docile if handled properly. They can become great pasture pets that will come to you for attention or treats and want to interact with you.”

That being said, Hasse believes strongly in yak meat and its nutritional. “We’ve been in the yak meat business for over 15 years. I’ve never been able to meet the demand,” Hasse says. Selling his yak meat to high-end restaurants in Denver, California and New York, he says, “Because of the lack of vaccinations and grain feed, we literally can produce the animal at 40 to 50 percent of the cost [of beef] and we get double to triple the meat price.”

If you’re interested in getting into the yak business, or in buying yak meat,  Hasse says, “Come talk to me.” He can be reached at or 970/249-1734.

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Golden Yak.png


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USYAKS has a reason for celebration. Two of our members recently attended the annual conference on Animal and Plant genomes last week. They were there for the presentation of a genetics project that our members helped set up.


This is a really big deal. Not just for the yak world, but for the world of animal genetics at large. This new methodology has never been used before, and USYAKS was a sponsor of the project. Many thanks to USYAKS members Peter Hackett and Tim Hardy for helping to make this happen. You can read the press release below.





USYAKS Press Release


Scientists Construct New Yak Reference Genome 


San Diego, January 16, 2019

Scientists, led by Dr. Timothy Smith of the USDA, presented the first chromosome-scale assembly of the yak species at the 27thAnnual Plant and Animal Genome Conference this week. 


This groundbreaking work, based on a new methodology utilizing data from parents representing two species and their offspring, is a major advance not only for yak, but for the entire field of animal genetics. USDA scientists called this work “the best assembly of a mammalian genome ever.” Dr. Edward S. Rice, who presented this collaborative work at the conference, reported the new genome assembly has far fewer missing pieces than previous attempts to construct the genome of the yak, and at the same time improved the cattle genome. 


USYAKS was instrumental in providing registered animals for the research. Previously, yak DNA was often mapped to the cattle reference standard, which yielded important discoveries, but also had limitations. This high-quality “map” of the entire DNA of the yak will facilitate research to understand the biology of the species and provide an improved resource to build upon current genetic testing. 


Scientists joining in the work with Dr. Smith included Dr. Jessica Petersen and Dr. Edward S. Rice from University of Nebraska Lincoln, Dr. Sergey Koren from the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Mike Heaton from the USDA, and Dr. Theodore Kalbfleisch from University of Kentucky. Dr. Tim Hardy and Dr. Peter Hackett from USYAKS assisted this effort.  



If you have questions about this project you may contact Peter Hackett at

Peter is working on an article to explain how this project worked and why the data is so important. He should have it ready to go in February. No pressure, Peter.

The alternative livestock of choice for the 21st century!

For every Progressive cattleman, the Tibetan Yak is the most practical alternative livestock to explore. If you are looking for new ways to make money on your ranch with little or no additional monetary investment, discover all the ways that these multi-purpose Yaks will add substantially to the return on your investment. From 25% to 50% lower operating/feed costs to at least 10% higher prices for your Yak products; including meat, wool, hide, and offspring; you will make more money diversifying with Yak and Yak crossbreeds than with your straight commercial cows. The Yak will make you more money, time after time.


For every Small Acreage Pioneer, the Tibetan Yak is the ideal animal to meet your needs. Whether you require a rare, personable, exotic pet; or you desire a multi-purpose easy to care for animal that will provide your wool, milk, meat, and packing/trekking requirements; this versatile, interesting Old World cousin to the North American bison is the perfect answer to meet all those independent preparedness needs. The Yak will win your heart.


For every Exotics Breeder, discover the real growth opportunities that exist today with the Tibetan Yak. Whether you are motivated by aiding the survival of a rare exotic species, or by realizing the timing of the upward curve of the price of an exotic species that is being discovered for it's many benefits to health-conscious Americans, the Tibetan Yak is the species to invest in right now. With less than 10,000 breeding females in North America today, with extremely desirable results being discovered in Yak meat research being conducted today, and with Yak breeding stock prices rising substantially, now is the time to become a part of this real growth opportunity. Now is a great time to get started with the extremely rare Golden Yak. Get in on this ground floor opportunity.


For the Mountain, Backwoods, and Hunting Guides. Yak cows and steers can easily be halter trained and utilized for Packing and Trekking applications. An adult Yak can pack up to 300 pounds through miles of rocky mountainous terrain. They are more sure-footed than mules. Yaks can be easily confined in a corral, and are very quiet and serene. Their uniqueness can add a new dimension and draw to your guiding operations.

Grain Feeding Yaks     1/5/20

Yaks, like all bovine are designed to eat forage; grasses, alfalfa, weeds, anything green that is not toxic to them. Grains are far too rich in energy (calorie) content. It makes them too hot (fidgety, spooky, aggressive,and energetic), rather than being naturally calm.

Grains generate very high counts of e.coli and salmonella in the gut, eventually leading to ulcers and leaky gut syndrome, allowing this high bacteria count to get into the blood stream.

Grains make the animal artificially large and fat, which is not healthy for yaks. They were created to be lean and smaller in stature, which makes them far more feed efficient. Grains also shorten their life span, sometimes considerably. Heavy grain feeding can cut their life span in half.

Grains also change the fat type in their bodies to unhealthy fats for human consumption, rather than the naturally healthy fats to eat.

There is nothing positive about feeding grains to yaks, and can even be considered dishonest for buyers judging yaks by their size at a young age; as young yaks on grain look bigger and fatter and hairier than their grassfed natural counterparts. This represents a bigger "healthier" appearing animal than their genetics would dictate naturally, but in reality is deceiving the buyer in a false representation of the genetics of the animal.

Hopefully that helps,


Yaks Faks™

The wild Yak (bos mutus) is found in the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet and surroundings at elevations of 14,000 feet. In fact the wild Yak (bos mutus) cannot live below 12,000 feet elevation for any length of time. But during these occasions, the wild Yak bulls interbreed with various cattle breeds surrounding their native Himalayan Mountain terrain. These cross calf heifers crossed back several times to the wild Yak. These multigenerational crosses became the domesticated Yak (bos grunniens). The Yak was originally domesticated in Tibet thousands of years ago and has supplied the indigenous people of these mountainous regions with most of their daily needs including meat, milk, butter, cheese, wool, fiber, leather, fuel, and packing/trekking/travel requirements. The versatile animal is an integral part of the lives of the Tibetan natives and substantially adds to the renowned health and longevity of these people.


The history of an animal is only important if it informs us of values that may be relevant for us today. The history of the Yak has suggested that meat quality research was warranted on this unique bovine. A number of alert, forward-looking ranchers began this testing. Preliminary results are more than exciting. The meat from this hardy breed may be the healthiest meat you can possibly eat, better for your heart and for your health even than skinless chicken, buffalo, elk, or any other meat. Yak meat is naturally very low in fat (95% or less); very low in cholesterol, saturated fats, and calories; while also being very high in protein, stearic acid and oleic acids, yielding very healthy HDL to LDL ratios in humans. These "Faks" alone should get you very excited.

More Yak's Faks™

Colors and Color Patterns: There are 5 different colors of Yaks here in the United States. Of course there are many more, but these are the ones found in the U.S.A..


Black Yak: A pure black yak with a Grey Nose
Imperial Yak: A pure black yak with a Black nose
Trim Yak: A yak that is mostly black that has a touch of white on the forehead, feet, and/or tip of the tail.
Royal Yak: A yak that is a mix of white and black or white and gold. The white normally starts from the back end and makes it way forward.
Golden Yak: A yak that has a golden, honey brown color. Very rare, as the gene that creates this color is recessive.


Black and Black Trim Yaks are your most common yaks in the United States. There are more of these than any other color out there. Because of this, they are normally used for meat and have a lower price range.


Imperial and Royal Yaks are not as common as Black and Trim Yaks, but are not the most rare either. They are second from the top in color when it comes to population. Imperial Yaks are also used for meat, but also hold value for being a pet and show animal. But if you really want a shining diamond for shows, Royal Yaks are the way to go. Because of their unique coloring, Royal Yaks are your most common pet and show animal. Both

Imperial and Black Royal Yaks are in the medium price range.


Goldens Yaks are your most unique and rare Yaks. There are only about 50 Golden Yaks in the United States with more than 90% of those being right here at DELYAKS. Golden Yaks have a rare recessive gene that makes them a most valuable animal. They are also the best wool producers out there. They are in the high price range.

Any Yak can be used for a meat, pet or show animal, whether it is a Black, Imperial, Trim, Royal or Golden Yak. Your job is to find out what you want to do and how you want to do it.

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Mongolian Yak

The Yak is one species of animal which belongs to the Bovine family. It has been reared in the Himalayan region, and Altay, Khangai and Huvsgul high mountainous area for a long time. The ancestor is the Wild yak, which is still found on the Tibetan Plateau. Mongolians call it ‘yak’, Tibetans “Yaga” and Kyrgyz “Topos”. 

Yaks are distributed in 13 provinces and 132 soums that are situated in high mountainous and mountain-grassland regions. 
The highest numbers of yaks are recorded in Arkhangai, Huvsgul, Zavkhan, Uvurkhangai and Bayankhongor provinces. 
50% of the yak population lives above 200 meters, the rest of population live at 1600-2000 meters. It is an economically valued animal because it can use pastures that cannot be reached by other livestock and require less herding management. 


The body size and weight of a yak bull are 20-30% bigger and 50-60% heavier than a yak cow respectively. A yak is a robust animal with a large, deep chest, and 14-15 ribs. Yaks have a short body; the ratio between length and height is about 110-115%. 
The live weight is similar to local cattle; an adult bull is about 400-450kg, a cow 270-280kg, a 3-4 year old male yak 300-350kg and a 2 year old 220-250 kg. 


A calf reared with his mother weighs 110-120 kg at the age of 6 months. It is twice as high as a semi-weaned calf. A suckling calf can reach 180 kg in 18 months, 260 at 30 months and 340 kg at 3.5 years. Meat production of adult male yak is 51.6-59.1%. Yak meat is in rich of myoglobin which can oxidize in the air. Therefore, yak meat becomes as deep red. Yak fat is bright yellow due to in rich in carotene that is the main source of Vitamin A. 

The meat is very lean and low in fat. It shows that yak meat has an appropriate meat and fat ratio and is rich in protein and vitamins. Yak meat is valued like beef for consumption and trade. 
Calving mostly occurs between March and June. Milk production depends on the lactation length. For instance, if calving occurs in Feb-March, milk production would be 740 liters, in April 670, in May 600 and in June 560 liters. 
Yak milk is very creamy. Content is 7.2% fat, 5.3% protein, 5.2% lactose. At the end of the lactation period, around September, the milk becomes creamier and fat reaches 9-12 %. 


Although very sensitive to warm temperatures, yaks can easily tolerate the cold season. Long hair and thick skin are adapted to regulating body temperature. Yak hair is much longer and shaggier than Mongolian cattle, and the hair varies in length on different parts of the body. 

They have a long bushy tail, and extremely long hair from belly to ankle which is called “savga”. The main body has shaggy hair with cashmere. Long, thick hair protects them from cold and heat as well as providing insulation when lying in cold and snowy places. 

The skin is comparatively thick with few sweat glands. Their ability to regulate body temperature is very weak; therefore they combat the heat by panting like a dog on hot days. Traditionally, our ancestors avoided using yaks to pull carts because the harness would cause problems in breathing. 

Modern nomads use yaks for transport which is poor management. Regulation of body temperature is unbalanced on hot days in lower places; this causes an increase in pulse rate and breathing. Consequently, they can lose body weight, productivity, fertility and resistance to diseases.

Yaks are tall in appearance; the backbone is hooped with wide hips due to the spinal vertebrae being long and erect. These characteristics prove that yaks are a mountain animal suitable for carriage without shaking. Therefore, nomads use yaks to carry their children in a pannier on the back.

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Life on Plateau: The lonely wanderer on the wasteland "The Golden Wild Yak."

By Zhao Ying





















For herders on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, yaks mean everything. The tough dried yak meat, fresh yak milk and yak butter tea provide most of the protein and fat in food for the locals. Even yak dung can be used as organic fuel.

The yaks that live closely with herders are called domestic yaks. Different from their ancestors – wild yaks, domestic yaks are smaller in size. While a male domestic yak weighs about 350 to 585 kilograms, a male wild yak can weigh up to 1,000 kilograms, almost the double.

Domestic yaks, commonly seen on roads or at tourist attractions, often have diverse colors, ranging from black to brown, white or even pied. In contrast, the color of a wild yak is mostly jet black. Only a small group have the shining golden brown color, thus named golden wild yak.

With a shoulder height of 175 to 203 centimeters, the bulky golden wild yak has dense long hair hanging down almost to the ground, as if wearing a huge blanket with tassels to keep them warm on the cold plateau.

According to director Ka Bu, whose documentary crew filmed the creature in 2016, golden wild yaks are only distributed in Rutog and Gegyai counties of northwestern Tibet, at the altitude of almost 5,000 meters. They sometimes live together with their black relatives.

On the flat terrain, the male golden wild yak is often seen wandering alone. In comparison, the female would lead a larger group with children and elderly walking on the steep mountain slope, where there are more grasses and sedges to forage.

A golden wild yak. /Courtesy of director Ka Bu

















The golden wild yak has sharp hearing and eyesight, enabling it to sense human activities from miles away and then flee silently by climbing over the near-vertical mountain. Therefore, seeing a rare golden wild yak needs some luck.

According to local legends, seven golden wild yaks were given as dowry when Mount Buye was married to Mount Zhaxiangqian and thus, the golden wild yaks that move around snowy Mount Zhaxiangqian are considered sacred and hunting them would bring bad luck, said Ka Bu.

Nowadays, the number of wild yaks is already scarce, recorded 10,000 in 2018. The population of golden wild yaks is even less, at the most 300, which makes it critically endangered.

To protect this first-class protected animal, the local forestry bureau has rented over 60 square kilometers of meadows from herders since 2016. Herders are compensated by the local government for resettling elsewhere and raising less livestock. About 780 farmers and herders are also hired as wilderness rangers to patrol in the reserve every day.

A running golden wild yak on the plateau. /Courtesy of director Ka Bu

It is said that the wild yak was domesticated around 5,000 years ago by the ancient Qiang people. The domestication gave Tibetan people abundant living resources and enabled their population to grow rapidly. The ancient "golden treasure" should be cherished for whatever reason.

(Video and cover photo provided by director Ka Bu, cover photo designed by CGTN's Liu Shaozhen)

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Savoir Three Sixty Bed Should Guarantee a Good Night’s Sleep at £250,000, including rare natural fibres of an indigenous species of Yak

Four kilograms of Tengri noble yak fibres, hand-combed from 40 yaks, fill the luxurious topper. Chosen as the "BEST OF THE BEST" of luxurious fibres.

Savoir has introduced what it calls “the world’s most luxurious bed” for those wanting to push the boundaries of bespoke. The Three Sixty, a hand-crafted rotating bed with leather and maple frame and yak-fibre cover, costs from £250,000.

The smoothly curved exterior upholstered in soft leather contributes to a contemporary design, with a flowing sphere birds-eye maple frame encircling the bed to create a sense of symmetry.

The arched interior with its Italian Dedar 100% cotton velvet finish creates a cocooning effect, while the precision lines created by the curved ribs provide a comforting sense of privacy.


The Three Sixty discreetly features turnable technology to rotate 360 degrees using an app, and reading lights designed specifically for the bed have been incorporated along with power and USB outlets, without interrupting the design aesthetic.

The Three Sixty features an exclusive HKy topper made with rare natural fibres of an indigenous species of Yak from the Khangai region of Mongolia. Four kilograms of Tengri noble yak fibres, hand-combed from 40 yaks, fill the luxurious topper. With only 100 grams of fibre available from each yak per year, the HKy topper defines exclusive luxury. The fibre, which is as soft as cashmere, is warmer than Merino wool and naturally resistant to odours and water.

Alistair Hughes, MD of Savoir commented: “The Three Sixty takes the art of fine bed-making to undreamed-of levels of comfort and luxury. Formed around our No. 1, the detail is pure perfection. Our craftsmen execute every element seamlessly, and every night you will feel the difference. We’ve worked with a selection of leading experts to ensure every element of The Three Sixty is exquisite. From renowned leather artist Bill Amberg, to deliver the finest leather stitching, to the world’s leading creator of bespoke turntable technology to produce a movement that is exquisitely smooth and soundless.”


Each Savoir bed is made in a traditional way, handcrafted by an in-house team of artisans, and 300 craft hours are invested in The Three Sixty.

Savoir beds were first created for The Savoy Hotel in 1905, and are still hand-made in the UK using the finest natural materials and skilled craftsmanship. Each mattress is made by one craftsman for a specific client, tailored to their precise needs. Bespoke upholstery and headboards allow a client to be fitted for the right bed, offering what Savoir describes as “the perfect night’s sleep, and an investment that pays off every morning of your life”. There are 14 Savoir showrooms around the world, including London, New York, Paris and  Shanghai.

The Three Sixty will be available exclusively in Harrods from June. A full bedset, as pictured, starts from £250,000.

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Check out the very first Silver Yaks to be born in North America !!!

As many of you already know, each successive generation of Golden Yaks gets lighter and lighter in color. Our 4th Generation Golden Royals look almost pure white, due to the fact that the Golden color patterns are extremely light, almost white in color. Now we have our first 5th generation Golden yak calves, and they are a gorgeous Silver color.....the first Silver yaks in all of North America.

You may be thinking; how do you get Silver yaks out of Golden color sires and dams? The answer is this:

I have a friend, who is considered to be the premier color geneticist in North America, maybe the world, Dr. Tom Whiting. He works primarily with colorations and color patterns in chickens and their plumage. When he saw my Golden yaks a few years back, he was very interested, not only in their color, but in the fact that each successive generation gets lighter and lighter in color. Tom told me that my Golden yak gene was really not a Golden gene, but rather an Anti-Black gene. And he predicted back then, that at some point on the Golden color progression, I should be getting many other color possibilities, as the normally dominant black gene in these yaks gets completely removed from the genetics in my Golden yak herd, through each successive generation of breeding these awesome Golden yaks.

Tom was right, and we now have the proof !!! We have just started our calving season, and in the last couple of weeks have been  blessed with 2 beautiful Silver Trim yak calves. We hope these will be the first of many this calving season.

Check out these photos; and if possible, come visit our pastures to see these awe-inspiring Silver yak calves for yourselves. Share the joy and excitement with us !


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