What do we raise?
Tibetan Yaks: Bos grunniens are the bison of Asia. They haven't made the ALBC's list because they aren't common enough to. Slow growing and maturing, bulls are reliable breeders between age 3 and 4. They continue to grow to impressive stature for the first 10 years or so. They have intimidating horns, but can be quite gentle if properly trained. Their tails are akin to horses, and they hold them up high in the air when they run around the pasture for exercise and for fun. They are generally docile towards their people and ever so useful! When people ask "What do you DO with your yaks?" It's hard to answer in a few sentences, but I'll give it a shot: Ride, Pack, Pull - Meat, Milk, Wool. Is a common saying in the yak community.
-Yaks can carry up to 20% of their bodyweight in the form of a rider, or a pack of gear, meat, etc.
-They can be trained to pull carts, plows, and anything else your heart desires that the laws of physics will allow. They are commonly referred to as "The grunting ox" because they do not moo or bawl like other cattle- they simply grunt.
-They are delicious- like American bison but sweeter, leaner, and yak meat has no gamey taste at all.
-You can milk a yak (no, it's not pink contrary to rumor), yak butter is a staple of the diet of yak herders in Tibet, Nepal, and elsewhere. The milk is not as high in quantity as our Bos taurus milking breeds, but it is RICH!
-Yaks grow a downy undercoat for winter. Technically "down" is a fiber, not a wool- but that doesn't rhyme! It is similar to Cashmere fiber, with a shorter staple length. Instead of shearing, we simply comb out our yaks because in the spring, they blow this undercoat just like a dog does. The hair that remains is called "guard hair" and it is also used for making rope, tents, and other sturdy (not worn by humans) items.
Highland Cattle: Highlands are listed as "Recovering" by the ALBC. We have a single Highland cow named Barbie (she's blonde, though technically a "Silver"). We bred her to our friend's brindle bull for a calf in September of next year. Hoping she doesn't come back into heat before New year's... then we know she took!
Icelandic Sheep: We have a trio of Icelandic Sheep to be buddies to our lone Shetland ewe after a lion took her baby this fall (next door, not on our property). They have lovely fleeces, and we are looking forward to little lambs in the spring! Our ram, Gus, is a beautiful chocolate color and is dog-tame. His two girls are Duchess (badgerface) and Cricket (black). The girls aren't nearly as tame, but grain is bringing them around! Precious is my remaining Shetland, she's a Moorit/brown, and her fleece is like VELCRO to all things you absolutely don't want in a fleece... We much prefer the Icelandics' wool! I may need to get her a show coat to wear all the time after I shear her in the spring. I'll try to get a fashionable one. Zebra print? People already think we're weird with the yaks and all, but to have a zebra print sheep... yes, this is happening!
Silver Fox Rabbits: Listed as a "Threatened" breed on ALBC's list, the Silver Fox Rabbit is called the "Teddy bear of commercial rabbit breeds" due to their pleasant demeanor. This has proven true for us. I'm more hands-off with the buns, and only handle them for breeding purposes. They are gentle and lovely! The babies are also quite nice, even when I only pet them as they eat, no proper socialization. We have Black, Blue, and Chocolate SFs, and I love the variety. They are the only longer-haired breed of rabbit whose hair will stand when brushed back to front. This is because their fur has been selectively bred to be similar to that of the Arctic Fox. These rabbits are prized for both meat and pelt. They are the only breed we raise because we just don't need another!
Muscovy Ducks: The only breed on the place that isn't rare, these guys are just for fun and meat. I have a white drake and colored ducks. They make adorable babies, and we'll see if 2013 is a better hatching year for them!
Buff Ducks: We rescued a few Buff Ducks this December because they had been dumped at a public pond sometime this summer and the Parks and Rec people didn't want to see them starve. We're pretty sure they're Buff ducks, and wouldn't you know it, they're "Threatened" on ALBC's list! Perhaps I'll keep one of the drakes for the girls, after all.
The Laying Flock: Marans, EE, OE, Australorp, and a few random ladies of hatchery descent keep us in eggs and chicks. In 2013 we will be adding some RARE chicken breeds that aren't even on the ALBC's lists yet, so keep an eye out!
Formerly known as 9gerianMile