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.

Jak the Yak, pour Matheson Farms yak mascot
Jak the Yak is one of our farm mascots.

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.

Peach, a Native Trim cow and her Royal calf
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