Elks eat grains, legumes and most upland grasses
Besides the obvious profits of elk antler, there are three other major markets, as well. Along with breeding stock, there are the alternatives of meat and recreation. Breeding stock prices can vary, so keeping up with current prices is important. Breeding stock prices can vary according to the quality of the stock. Investing only in quality stock, even if the prices are higher, will insure better returns in the long run. Elk meat, a considerably lean product high in protein, is raised using no chemicals or hormones. This is appealing to the growing number of people with health concerns as well as people looking for a tasty new treat to add to their food creations. Not only is it delicious at home, it is found on high quality menus in fine restaurants. The restrictions on its versatility are only as small as the chef's. More than 150 metric tons of red-deer venison is imported every year, showing the need for locally raised venison. Elk venison cuts are larger and the taste and texture is more desirable than red deer . As far as recreation, trophy animals are prized among top hunters. Hunting ranches offer the opportunity for men and women to take home a unique story and exquisite antlers. Even without the hunt, people love, and will pay, to see elk among their natural habitat.
An 8' perimeter fence is needed for the average domesticated elk. It is helpful to have interior partition fencing. Some farmers will use 6' fencing for the interior, but 8' is preferable. The main function of the fence is to properly move and manage elk. Consider your present fence needs as well as room for expansion in the future. Being aware of the shape and topography of property will make the job easier. Aerial photography can help, but also survey the land intended to fence.
"Are elk just the current fad in the livestock industry?" The answer is definitely NO. The elk industry is real. Sure, correlations exist between elk and specialty animals. Elk are intriguing. People have an emotional response to elk. They are beautiful and majestic. No other animal can send a chill down your spine like a big bull when he throws his head back and bugles. Nothing is cuter than a newborn calf. Nothing puts a smile on your face like a pasture full of yearlings, bucking, rearing, running and playing. They can be extremely gentle, curious and friendly, meeting you at the gate for a pet or a treat. Four emerging markets determine the real value of pure North American elk, and thus the future of the industry. These markets are meat, velvet, trophy ranches, and breeding stock. They are in exciting developmental stages. There is plenty of room for new people and new ideas. Ranchers meet newcomers and new ideas with enthusiasm. Pure North American elk meat is highly sought after. Presently the consumer demand far exceeds our supply. This market does not have to be created, just developed further as we get the numbers of elk up to a level that can sustain a steady production. Many fine restaurants serve the elk's cousin, the New Zealand red deer , because at this time Pure North American elk is not readily available.
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