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yaks-Pet or Profit?

February 9, 2011

My interest in yaks started at the Taos Wool Market a few years ago.  My wife and I were selling yarn and stuff at the show.  (OK, she sells the yarn and stuff.  I do a bunch of heavy lifting, and then I hang around for a couple of days, and wait to lift more some more stuff.  (Sorry, I got distracted for a minute.)

 

The Wool Festival is an easy place for me to entertain myself.  I usually walk around, check out the vendor booths, live animal displays, people watch and eventually get to the town plaza and Walmart of Taos.  I have not been to Taos without adding to the trust funds of the Walton family.  (Sorry, distracted again)

 

Usually there is nothing special about the live animal exhibits.  Most years they consist of alpaca, llama, goat and sheep.  A few years ago someone brought in a couple of hairy-looking cows.   New animal display, this was going to be interesting.

 

I spent some time at the corral listening to the gentlemen displaying the hairy cows (yaks).  The gentleman was a representative from ranch in Northern New Mexico, just north of Taos. The first thing I learned is they were not hairy cows.  However, yaks are related to domestic cattle and will cross breed with them.  It was a mystery why they would be at a wool show.     

 

What I heard from the man was fascinating to me.  He was at the Wool Festival to promote the use of yak fiber for yarn, etc. in the United States.  Yak fiber has been used in the Himalayas for centuries. 

 

I came away thinking that yaks should be something to look into.  My wife and I raise llamas and a couple of alpacas, I was pretty sure she would be interested.  After all, she is a fiber nut. 

 

I spent the next few months checking out yaks on the internet.  I found out that yaks were being shown the following January at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.  Elaine and I made plans to check them out.

 

We spoke with several breeders were at the National Western Stock Show.  The first one was running a major operation in Montana.  He was a meat guy, with little interest in yak fiber.  Although, he did provide Elaine with a small amount of yak fiber, which Elaine spun into yarn.  She used the yarn to knit a hat, which she gave to the breeder the next year at the Stock Show.  (He was wearing it at this year’s Stock Show) This ranch was featured recently in a documentary on cable television. 

 

One breeder we spoke with was from here in Colorado.  He started our conversation with “So, what’s it gonna take to get you in a yak today?” The next breeder was riding his yak with a saddle and homemade reins.

 

I was really excited.  What a perfect animal.  The hair is used for fiber.  They can be meat, if desired.  They will produce milk, cheese and butter.  They can be taught to be ridden.  They can be sold by used car salesmen.

 

I wanted to do something a little different with them.  I wanted a couple of pets and “mascots” for a yarn store my wife and I were planning at the time. 

 

Now it is 2011, the yarn store is open.  We have pet yaks.  The yaks have been introduced to the customers, taking up the role of mascots. 

 

Remember the title of this tidbit of information?  Yaks, pets or profit?”  Our accountant told us we need to do something with the yaks.  Damn tax guy.

 

Well, we do have the land.  Little Franks is a registered bull.  All we need is a couple of female yaks.  It looks like we need more of them.

 

We could get a lot more if I didn’t need to pay those insurance deductibles.  (see previous post)  Ivy is still riding with me.

 

Anyone hungry or need some live yarn?

 

Our crazy lives! 

 

Monner

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