Main Street Kansas: Yaks moo-ving into Kansas

Main Street Kansas

If you drive in far north Kansas, you may do a double-take when you see the cattle at one ranch.

NORTON, Kan. (KSNW) – From a distance, they look like an ordinary cow, but upon closer inspection, you’ll see.

Their long hair and bushy tails are a dead giveaway that they’re not from around here!

“Humidity is their worst enemy,” said Doug David, owner of Bow Creek Ranch in Norton. “And the yak name has been an issue.”

That’s right, yaks!

The shaggy beasts hail from Tibet in the Himalayas but are gaining ground in North America.

“They were given to Canada by the Queen of England as a gift, and that’s how the Canadian herd started,” said David. “Then, we developed the North American herd since then.”

Doug David and his wife, Stephanie, started raising yaks 20 years ago.

The woolly animals graze alongside the cattle, even breed with them sometimes, but yaks take less food to fatten up.

“You can run three yaks to a beef cow,” said David.

And their meat is a big seller. Bow Creek Ranch sells every cut of yak meat that you’d get from a cow.

RELATED LINK | Bow Creek Ranch

“It has a sweeter flavor than beef naturally,” said David.

“The studies we’ve done, yak meat is lower in cholesterol than any other meat except ground turkey,” said Stephanie David, pulling a package of ground yak from the meat locker. “Obviously you can see how lean it is.”

They sell yak steaks and sausage, even snack items.

“Jalapeno cheddar sticks are one of the most popular items we have,” said Stephanie.

But yak meat also costs more. The Davids pay higher USDA inspection fees because yaks are considered exotic livestock.

The clothes they sell also aren’t cheap, but they are super warm and durable.

Customers can buy shirts, socks, shoes and leather bags at the ranch or order them online.

The Davids even have an enormous bedspread for sale, made from the hide of a 12-year-old bull!

“It’d cover a whole king size bed and then some,” said Stephanie with a laugh. She can barely unfurl the heavy, black fur comforter.

Even with a coat this thick, she says yaks handle the Kansas heat surprisingly well by not moving around much until after dark.

The big animals are also naturally docile.

“Yaks are not hard on fences, we don’t have a lot of trouble with them,” said Doug David.

So watch out, Bessie!

Common cows are getting some competition, some might even call it a yak attack!

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