Welcome to The Meadows at Lake Norman

At one point, we had the largest herd of yak in NC.  We also acquired an additional heard with a number of quality bulls a few years ago and at one point, we had over 60 yaks.  However, we  decided to reduce our heard of Yaks down to a much smaller heard and we sold a majority of our heard due to limited space and having sold some of our land.  Currently, we have no available animals for sale.

For those of you who don’t know what Yak tastes like, it’s richer and tastier than beef, better for you and more delicious than elk or bison and healthier for the body than any other meat available. As they say, once you try Yak, you’ll never go back. Serious inquiries only please. Will give a discount for anyone wishing to start a heard (ie, 1 bull and 3 females, you select the bull and cows from the ones that I have available for sale). On a side note, yaks are far easier to handle than bison (american buffalo) but hardier than bison.

On a side note, a bull will dress out at about 600 lbs with about 350 to 400 lbs of meat. Beef is over $4 a lb and this is way better than beef. On the internet, you can see that Yak meat is going for a lot more. Even at just $6 a lb packed meat, that’s $2,100.00 just in meat value of a bull and maybe $1,700.00 for a cow. In addition, their hides are worth a small fortune.

On the internet, Yak meat is between $7.00 and $14.00 a pound (when it is available). In high end restaurants, Yak steaks bring in between 1.5 to 2 times what aged angus filet cut will cost. In New York on a recent trip, while dining in a 5 star restaurant, we had the option of organic range fed chicken breast for #21.95, an 9 oz. aged filet cut for $27.95 or Yak steak at $39.95.

All but 8 of my yak are for sale since my plan is to significantly reduce my herd for reasons of limited space. Most of our animals younger than a year have already been sold. All of my heard is either mature enough to breed or is very close to full maturity. I have a number of different males and females available. Previously, I have sold 6 month old babies for $950. But since I’m selling most of my heard, I am pricing my mature yaks aggressively.

Considering that some of them I paid over $5000.00 for, that is an extremely deep discount. And the weight of these animals, just from a meat perspective, puts the value at far higher than what I am asking. Choices are based on first come, first serve, and are regardless of the sex of the animals you choose. However, in order to preserve the ability for me to sell “herds” to those interested, a maximum of 1 bull will be sold with every 3 cows.  Will sell cows individually or in any number you like.  But bulls can’t be sold separately unless with cows.

I may consider smaller herds than 4 depending on the situation and how many yaks I have left available. Check around the internet. You will find that NO ONE is selling yak at this deep discount for fully mature breeding animals. And if you’re on the east coast, you will add significant amount in shipping to the already higher price than I am asking for. Last 3 times I put an add to sell yak on craig’s list (spring of 2011), I sold all the animals I was planning on selling in the first week each of the times I posted. Please inquire ONLY if you are serious. Send an email to “drb@topshepherds.com” or “themeadowsatlkn@aol.com”

Some FAQ’s regarding Yak’s:

Yaks cross readily with cattle. The first and second-generation male crosses are sterile, but the females are highly fertile

Yaks are easy to raise

Yaks are income producing and provide certain tax advantages

Yaks are disease resistant and cold hardy

Yaks are compatible with most agricultural operations

Yaks do not require special diets

Yaks can be docile and are easily tamed when handled regularly

Yaks are more efficient than cattle

Yaks will thrive where cattle will starve

Yaks can survive severe blizzard-like conditions, which would easily kill cattle. Newborn Yak babies can survive temperatures as low as 30 degrees below zero

Yak cows can be tamed. They can make great pack animals. Yaks are more sure-footed than horses or mules

Yak wool is highly useful. It can be used to make sweaters, blankets, coats, and hats. Yak wool is much warmer than sheep wool

Yaks are very rare. There are only about 2000 Yaks in North America, compared to over 250,000 bison. The investment potentials are unlimited.

Yaks, you say? Yaks, Bos grunniens, are members of the bovine family and were domesticated in Tibet. Yaks thrive in high elevations. In their native land of Tibet, they exist at elevations over 15,000 feet and yet they can be successfully raised at very low elevations. Yaks have a dense undercoat of soft, close-matted hair, which is covered by outer hair. Its long, shaggy coat reaches almost to the ground.

Yaks were imported to Europe from Tibet in the mid 1800’s. From Scotland and Germany, they moved on to Canada and the United States in the early 1900’s. There are now about 2000 Yaks in North America.

Yaks are also known as the “grunting ox”. That’s a grunt, not a moo or a bellow. They’ll grunt when agitated, hungry, or calling their young. Otherwise, they make no sound at all.

Yaks are inquisitive, intelligent, and quiet animals each with their own distinct personality. They learn to come when called and have a highly developed sense of sight and hearing. They make good watchdogs curiously investigating any activity in their vicinity. They can be halter broken upon weaning and learn and retain behaviors such as packing, pulling, and being groomed.

What are Yaks like? Yaks are noted for their dramatic horns, massive buffalo-like hump, thick woolly coat, ankle-length skirt of hair, and bushy horse-like tail. North American Yaks are divided into five types:

Imperial All Black with a Black nose

Royal Black and White piebald

Trim Black with white markings on the head, feet, or tail

Golden Golden

Black All Black with a Gray nose

They are social animals with a distinct pecking order. The babies tend to be playful and are fun to watch.

How big do Yaks get? Adult females weigh from 500 to 900 pounds and adult males weigh from 1200 to 1500 pounds. They reach their full adult size in six to eight years.

Gestation/Life-span? Female Yaks usually breed at 18-24 months, have a gestation period of about 257 days (8 1/2 months), and normally produce a single offspring. Calves generally weigh between 25 and 35 pounds and never need to be pulled. Yaks live an average of 20 to 25 years.

What about fencing and permits? Yaks are very easy to fence, requiring no special consideration. They are content in a small area and mix well with other livestock. Existing cattle facilities are easily used. Any fence that holds in cattle will work just as well for Yaks. No permits are required to raise Yaks.

What do you do with Yaks? Uses include breeding stock, crossbreeding stock, pack and draught animals, wool, hide, milk, and meat production. Yak cows make excellent packers. One Yak can carry up to 150 pounds of load and walk trails too rough for horses and need no additional food other than browsing.

What and how much do they eat? They are very efficient food-converting animals and eat about half of what an average beef animal does. They are browsers and grazers and do well on a variety of pastures with no supplemental feed required. A mature Yak can do well on as little as 6-10 pounds of grass hay per day. Four 600 pound Yak cows eat less than one 1200 pound Angus cow, one 1000 pound buffalo cow, or one and one-third 500 pound elk cows.

What is their wool like? The soft under-hair of the Yak can be combed out in the spring. This very fine hair with a short staple is cashmere-like and can be blended with silk for easier spinning. Each Yak can produce two to three pounds of under-hair which can sell for up to $16 per ounce when spun. The coarser outer-hair can be woven into ropes, belts, or bags.

What is their milk like? Yak milk is a rich creamy color with a high fat content of 5-7 percent.

What about eating Yak? Yak meat is deep red in color with the fat located on the outside of the carcass where it is easily trimmed. Yaks are 95-97% lean and are very low in fat and cholesterol. The taste of Yak is best described as beef-like, but more delicate in flavor and it has a savory aroma when grilled. High in protein, with one-sixth the fat of beef, Yak is of a quality of excellence to be appreciated. Pure Yak meat sells at a price equivalent to bison. Demand for this quality lean meat seems to be unlimited.

How much do they cost? With only a little over 1000 breeding Yaks in North America, they command a good price. Prices vary depending upon the age and training of the animals.

FAQ about Yaks – 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 5000 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 being at their lowest in North American Yak history, 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.

More Facts About Yaks:

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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

Yak Products

Meat: The most economically important product from the Yak is its juicy, flavorful, and healthy meat. The flavor can be compared to sweet beef flavor with no gaminess and no greasy after taste. While being 95% fat-free, its delicate, delicious flavor comes from its unique distribution of fatty acid percentages. Yaks are extremely low in palmitic acid that is bad for our health (30% less than beef as a percentage of fats and 120% less than beef as a percentage of meat.) Yak meat is also much lower in calories, saturated fats, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Simultaneously, Yak meat is much higher in stearic and oleic acids that are good for us (35% higher than beef as a percentage of fats.) Yak meat is also higher in protein and solids (less water) than beef. All these “Faks™” combine to suggest that Yak meat may be the healthiest meat you can eat, certainly better than beef, or even buffalo, elk, or skinless chicken. Yak is even lower in fat than salmon. All this is accomplished on a grass/forage diet alone, with no grain, hormone, steroid, or antibiotic feed supplements. Furthermore, Half-Yak meat chemistries and flavor are almost identical to pure Yak meat. For your own homegrown meat supply, there is no choice that is healthier and tastier than your own Yak or Yak-cross meat.

Wool and Hair Production is an added bonus for this wonderful species. Whether you card and knit with your own wool, or simply choose to sell your wool, you will appreciate this wool that is comparable to angora or cashmere in its superiority and feel. Yak wool is said to be worth $16 per ounce carded and cleaned or $4 per ounce uncarded. Yaks will average one pound of wool per year that must be combed out each spring if you choose to harvest this product. Yak guard hairs are almost identical in texture to human hair and are used for wig production.

Milk: In China, Yak x Holstein or Yak x Hereford cross cows are milked for their very rich milk which is used primarily for production of butter and cheese. The export demand for these products is greater than supply. In this country there is no Yak-cross milk or milk by-product market developed as yet. This could become a future production opportunity for American breeders.

Yak Leather, Hides, Skulls and Tails: Yak leather can go to normal leather processing. Other specialty markets are currently being developed for this wooly, longhaired hide, as well as processed skulls and tails.