Mongolian tour guide
top of page
  • Writer's pictureEnza Tours LLC

A brief information about Mongolian livestock

nomadic mongolia
Mongolian livestock

Livestock is the main supply for Mongolian economy, since it provides the need for diet, clothe, transportation and trade. The livestock industry contributed 90% of the entire manufactory of profit. Camels and cows were used for transportation of human and goods, and horses were used for transporting letters.

According to the source, in 1918, the total amount of livestock was 12.7 million; 1.5 million were the horse, 1.4 million of cow, 300 thousands of camels, 9.5 millions of sheep and goat. Mongolia is one of the few countries where local people call one animal in different names. According to the names, there are 54 types of horse, 32 types of cow, 22 types of sheep, 16 types of goat and 30 types of the camel.

Cutting Wool

wool cutting
wool cutting

Mongolians have been using wools for their daily life. They cut the fur of horse, camel, cow, goat once a year in last month of spring or beginning of summer, even though, they cut wools twice a year. They call it “long wool” if they cut it in the first month of summer, but if they cut it in autumn, they call it “short wool”.

They cut all sheep’s wool not caring for the sexes or ages when they cut “long wool”, although they do not cut female and baby sheep’s wool if they are cutting “short wool”. Sheeps’ wool is much easier to cut if they ate from fresh pasture, so nomadic people move to different areas which have fresh pasture for a reason during spring. In order to reduce wools, they set a specific day and invite local people for help.

The helpers bring them when they come, and the event starts officially when landlord cuts wool of a sheep. If the day they set do not have good weather or not suitable for cutting wools cut a piece of wool from one sheep, and cut the rest later without setting a specific date.

Beating Wool

making a wool
making a wool

Mongolians beat wool to make felt. They set a day of wool beating and put all the yarns on the previous ground day of that day to make it dry. On the day of beating wool, all the local people come to the place, and all of them have different duties according to their sexes. Women’s role is to beat the wool, and men are responsible for making yarn ready to hit.

The event starts when the oldest man or landlord says the blessing and spray milk on top of the wool. Then women start beating the wool at the same time. Depending on the amount of the wool, such event can continue for a few days. After they finished working, they have the custom to have a big feast.

Marking livestock

Marking livestock is one of the customary events which has the meaning of ensuring the animal to the heaven, mountain and gods so that its livestock will be more significant.

animal marking
animal marking

Mongolians choose their the most beloved one from their herd and mark it annually when they mark it they announce its age, type, ancestor, offspring, profits for its owner and bless it by making it taste milk; then they put it back in its group. After marking an animal, it’s forbidden to ride, trade, kill, beat the marked one.

Tavan Khoshu Mal (Five Main Livestock)

Mongolians have five primary livestock, which is sheep, goat, horse, cow and camel.

Mongolian horses’ weight is 280-320kg, able to carry 1-2tonns of baggage and drinks 40-90 litres of water in a day. In one clan, there are 15-20 horses, and it has different names according to its ages. For example; if it is one year old, it’s called Unaga, two years older is called Daaga, three years older is called Shudlen, four years older is invited Khyazalan.

If it is male, it’s named Azarga, and the female one is called Guu. When a male horse has 40 teeth for total, it is considered as mature, for female one when it has 36 teeth.

Cows are the leading supplement for milk and meat need, Mongolians herd cows, yaks and yak-cow hybrid. Cows weight 460 kg, yak weights 400 kg and yak-cow hybrid 500 kg, the cow-yak combination is more significant in size; that’s why it is mainly used for life. As a horse, cows have different names for their ages. One year older one is “Tugal”, two years older one is “Byaru”, three years older one is “Shudlen”.

Sheep is 40-60 kg, drinks 5-6 litres of water in a day, gives 1.5 kg of wools away. 1year older sheep is called “Khurga”, two years older ones called “Tulug”, 3 years older ones called “Shudlen” and six years older one is called “Buduun honi”.

Goat is weaker compared to sheep. It is 30-50 kg, gives 50 litres of milk for three months. One year older one is called “Ishig”, two years older one is called “Borlon”, three years older one is called “Shudlen Zusag”. When goats eat from pastures, they eat everything with its root.

If you want to discover Mongolian livestock customs, we offer you our MONGOL NOMADIC programme.

Our customers will discover things:

Five kinds of animals (Traditional Mongolian herding)

mongolian nomadic life
mongolian nomadic life

How to make traditional Mongolia dairy products and food.