East Sierra Valley
Chamber of Commerce
Greg and Jenna have raised cattle for over 15 years. We became interested in yaks due to our alpine valley location, and the possibility of an animal that can be reared year-round in the Sierra Valley, with its cold winter climate. Further research into these animals excited us about the opportunities  We are located in the Sierra Valley, in both Sierra and Plumas Counties. The home ranch is located on 80 acres just outside the community of Calpine, and provides a mix of seasonal forages irrigated by Fletcher Creek and Spring Channel. An additional 40 acres of sub-irrigated meadow near Frenchman Lake provides summer pasturage. Winter feed consists of high-quality grass and alfalfa hay grown by local Sierra Valley ranches. Excellent forage, along with our winter alpine climate, allows the yaks to produce plentiful and fine down fiber.

The yak’s physiology is well-adapted for high-altitude living. They have a larger lung and heart index than cattle, as well as a greater capacity for transporting oxygen through their blood. The rumen of yaks is also larger relative to their body size than cattle, which allows them to consume greater quantities of low-quality food and to ferment it longer to extract more nutrients. Due to increased feed conversion efficiency, yaks consume the equivalent of 1% of their body weight daily while cattle require 3% to maintain condition (The Yak Book, 2nd Edition). Yaks have also adapted to graze more quickly and closer to the ground than cattle, as a result of the unpredictable weather in high alpine environments.

Domestic yaks can live up to 20-25 years. A mature yak cow will generally weigh between 600-800 pounds while a bull will weigh between 1,200-1,500 pounds. Their hair and thick undercoats provide ample insulation from the cold. They also have a thick layer of subcutaneous fat, which provides additional cold weather protection.