Livestock, adapted to many uses, forms an essential part of the economy. Livestock accounts for about 30% of gross agricultural output. In farm work, bullocks and asses are largely used. Herds of yaks, cows, and their hybrids, zobos, are grazed in the central valley and to some extent along the borders of the foothill jungles. A few hogs usually are kept on the larger farms. Sheep and goats are used for food and also as pack animals, particularly in the distribution of salt over the trade routes; the sheep also supply a valuable type of wool.
In 2001, Nepal had an estimated 6,983,000 head of cattle, 3,624,000 water buffalo, 851,000 sheep, 6,478,000 goats, and 912,000 hogs. Modern poultry farms are operated principally by the Newaris, who carry on most of the agriculture in the Ka¯thmāndu Valley. There were about 9.8 million chickens in 2001, when 13,500 tons of poultry meat were produced. Traditionally, butter and cheese are among the leading exports of Nepal. Livestock products in 2001 included an estimated 342,000 tons of cow's milk, 20,000 tons of butter and ghee, and 614 tons of wool (greasy basis).