Camel feeding

Zalam – Salt deficiency in camels

All the people know that the camels need more salts. Also, in most of the regions, the camels were used for salts transportation. You might have seen amazing images of salt transport on camels in Ethiopia. Here the question is the camel salts requirements, their importance, and the types of salts. I have just written this small piece of facts about the salt’s story in camel feeding to start a debate and reach a scientific conclusion. Please take part in this discussion and share your expert opinion (both scientific and traditional knowledge)

Zalam – The salt defeciency

In continuation of our discussion about the salt requirements and deficiency in camels; The salt deficiency in camels is called Zalam (cruelty) among the Pashtun and Balochi camel pastoralists. They consider this deficiency as a punishment and cruelty towards the camels. Salt is one of the important welfare issues of the camels. I interviewed many camel keepers in Balochistan and other parts of the country, salt is one of the main requirements of the camels. They think the salt is the camel’s sword, fighting the challenging weather, thirst, and hunger. If you leave the camel without a weapon (salts) to fight against the long hotter days, and scarcity of feed and water, it is cruelty or Zalam.

Camel salt requirements per day

According to the camel keepers, the requirements of the salt are based on some factors like; age, stage (milking, working, pregnancy, etc.), food, water, and season of the year. In most cases, the pastoralist has specified certain grazing land based on the salt bushes availability. They graze their camels once a week in the salt bushes inhibited grazing lands. Along with this, they offer salt of 500 g/mature camel in a week. If enough salt bushes are not available, then the requirements per week are double 1 kg/camel/week.

What type of salt should be offered to the camels?

The granular salt is the best suited for the camels as camel use their lips as prehensile organs. Camels are not like cows (lick) so the salt as a block is not good for camels; it can harm the camels’ teeth. Also, the powder form is not recommended as it gets moist during humid nights. The top priority should be grazing on salt bushes with an additional amount of 1 kg/week per camel.

Some images are provided in the article below by Maurizio Dioli

Debate and the way forward

I always love to know the diversity of opinions about a phenomenon. I put some questions for further discussion and looking forward to hearing from different camelists of the world. Here are some questions;

  • Camel requirements of salts per day, What is the exact quantity required?
  • Do the camels drink brackish/salty water?
  • Do the camels drink seawater?
  • The impact of salts on the physiological aspects of camel
  • Can we regulate the milk taste with the on-off camel salts

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