Our Yak Herd

Two of the 2015 Yak Calves

Two of the 2015 Yak Calves

Yaks at Matheson Farms

We are so excited to have Yaks here at Matheson farms. These animals are hardy, versatile, and beautiful. They are a combination of both primitive looking and majestic at the same time. They are bovines (like beef cattle) yet have horse tails and like to play and climb like goats. They have long horns and shaggy skirts reaching nearly to the ground.

These are the new Yaks at Matheson Farms

The first Matheson Farms Yaks

Yak originate from the mountainous Himalayan region and were domesticated about 4500 years ago. They are used for their lean tasty meat, rich milk, work, packing and fiber. They have both wool and long coarse hair. Yaks are “social animals” and love to throw their tails over their backs and frolic. They are fearless at times, other times cautious and are always eager eat treats from our hands. By fearless I mean baby Yaks running circles around the big beef cows and butting heads with the bulls – all of whom put up with it and humor the little guys. The Yak came to this country about a hundred years ago.

The babies are tiny at birth and very fluffy and curly. The adults are smaller than beef cattle and eat far less even taking size into consideration. They mature more slowly but live to be 25-30 years of age.

Newborn Yak

Newborn Yak

There are three main color patterns. The patterns are solid Black, Trim (a little while star/triangle on the head, white on feet, and/or white on the tip of the tail), and Royal (black and white spotted). A Black mated to a Royal produces a Trim. There are also two nose colors. The Imperial has a black nose and the Native has a grey nose.  Although the vast majority are black or black and white in this country, other colors are seen in Asia and Europe.

Nellie, one of the new Yaks at Matheson Farms

Nellie, Imperial Black Yak Cow

Our plan is to 1. enjoy them, 2. produce quality breeding stock, 3. produce some Yak and Yak hybrid meat. The meat is very lean, mild but almost sweet in taste and is much lower in calories. The herd stands at 30 plus animals today – Blacks, Trims, and Royals.

Woolly Bully is our new Royal bull at Matheson Farms.

Woolly Bully, Mature Royal Bull

 

Ronan is a future herd bull Yak at Matheson Farms

Ronan, Native Trim young bull

 

12 Responses to Our Yak Herd

  1. hi sandra,
    are you selling yak meat or yak milk or both?

    cheers,
    molly

  2. Your newborn is so cute! And your website is so tempting, why doesn’t everyone have a few yaks?

    • Yaks are similar to cattle. They take work to raise and need supplemental feed in the winter and early spring when grass is short. You also need fences and facilities to work with them. They also have horns which can be a drawback.
      I love them, though. They are playful and generally sociable. Some mothers can be protective especially if the Yak has not been worked with.

  3. Cristine Armstrong

    Do you sell yak hair?

    • Hi Christine. Sorry for the delay. Several older comments just showed up today. I plan to sell fiber in 2017. In the past I have not had help in collecting the fiber, but I now have an intern who will be able to help next spring.Please check in early April to see if we have started. info@mathesonfarms.com

  4. Diane Longstreth

    I have two Royal Yak cows I want to breed.. Can Woolly Bully help?

  5. Hi –

    We are interested in buying the meat from half of a yak. Are you currently selling yak meat? Thanks!

  6. Loretta Boatwright

    Hi
    I am involved in 4-H in Idaho. I need some information on the nutritional needs and some idea of the temperament of the Yak in order to help in creating a project and fair rules for our area. R u available for some questions on this?

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