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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Time to Comb the Yaks

When you get an email asking if you might want to herd some yaks, it would be crazy to turn it down, don't you think?

So the other day 20 people, both local and from Santa Fe, decided that yes, yak herding sounded just fine, especially when it's such a pretty day.

Yak herding is easy with 20 herders: One person sits in the bed of a pickup truck and holds out some hay. The lead yak decides that hay is a good idea and follows the truck and the rest of the herd follows, because that's what yaks do. Theoretically.

Our job was to make a line behind the yaks and follow along just in case they decided the hay was a trick and wanted to hightail it out of there. With 20 herders spread out behind the yaks, it was easy peasy and before you knew it, all 14 bovines were in the pen awaiting their shots, ear tags for the newbies, and combing.

The guys picked up each baby for a shot and an ear tag.

 The squeeze chute was there for the adult yaks.

Once inside the chute, they got their shots and a good combing.

Yak fiber is very soft, like cashmere, and is sold for about 18 dollars an ounce.

After each yak was released from the squeeze chute, they looked back as if to say, "What the heck happened?"

When the yaks finished their medical and beauty treatments, we had a picnic under some old cottonwood trees.

Yeah, the life of a New Mexico yak herder is pretty tough.

Photos courtesy of Christa and David. Thanks!

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