Bhutan announces alternative feed for yaks to address winter fodder scarcity

Feed and fodder scarcity for yaks has been a major challenge for the yak herders every winter in Bhutan

Mar 25, 2021

Feed and fodder scarcity for yaks has been a major challenge for the yak herders every winter in Bhutan.

To help address this problem, the National Highland Research and Development Centre (NHRDC) and the National Research Development Centre for Animal Nutrition (NRDCAN) has come out with an alternative feed which is also cheaper.

The feed consists of paddy straw, molasses, salt, and mineral mixture.

The initiative is expected to reduce the mortality of yaks during the lean season and maintain production and improving the animals’ health.  

According to an official from NHRDC, the two development centres initiated the feed production with a farmers’ group from Kabisa in Punakha.  The feeds were then procured and supplied to the highlanders to supplement nutrition, according to according to Kuensel newspaper.

The official said the Department of Livestock (DoL) handed over the feed block to the yak herders as a part of a promotional programme.

“After some years, highlanders have to buy or either make the block themselves.”

He, however, said that there was difficulty in procuring the mineral due to the pandemic. “We have plans to reach out to every highland.” dzongkhag like Haa.”

He said that it was a pilot project and the centre would collect feedback from the herders.

Fodder scarcity was a leading cause of mortality among young animals, with low calving and growth rates.  It reduced productivity due to poor nutritional conditions in the winter season, according to a statement by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest.

Apart from wildlife depredation, fodder scarcity is said to be a significant issue facing yak herders.


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