Yak (Bos grunniens)
The yak is a cow originating from the Himalayas. It was the French government who were the first to introduce the Yak in Europe around 1850 at several experimental farms with the objective to improve the genetic material of indigenous cow races. From this importation stems the Yak population in Europe and the America’s. Currently there are Yak farms in Sweden, the UK, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switserland and also, be it still only a few, again in France.
The Yak makes his own specific sound, it gruns, it is a relatively small cow, but is incredibly strong and sturdy. It can live outside all year long and likes to walk big distances. In spite of the impressiveness of the animals, and certainly the bulls, they are very kind animals, they listen well and are relatively easy to handle. Of course they are animals… So you always have to be careful and respect the elementary and basic rules of cow herding.
The yak cow has a height at withers of 100-115cm and weighs about 200-300kg; the bull is around 130-155cm in height and weighs 400-600kg. Yaks have pronounced withers and a hairy tail like a horse, which they lift straight up in the air when they are excited or galloping. They have a long “skirt” of coarse hair on the lower part of the body, which protects them from the cold, a mane and a mostly curly fringe down to their eyes. The down hair can be combed out in spring; it has a beautiful lustre, is very warm, and it can be spun into yarn or worked into felt.
Yaks are mountain animals adapted to extreme cold, high altitude and difficult terrain, when spring comes, you can see them with their tails in the air jumping, playing and galloping in the steep slopes, fighting for play or hierarchy.