Bactrian Camel and Bactria Camel in China and Mongolia

Mongolian Bactrian camel -Breeding, Milk Production, and Lactation Curve

Visit of Mongolian Bactrian camels and their Ecosystem

In April 2018, the author visited Mongolia, especially the Gobi desert to visit the Bactrian camel herders and explore the potential of camels in their unique ecosystem. The details of the survey report can be read at the link.
Interviewed by the national TV of Mongolia

Types of camel

There are 3 types of Bactrian camels in the region, i.e.

  1. Galba Gobiin Ulaan (Reddish-colored camel)
  2. Khaniin Khestiin Khuren (Brown colored camel)
  3. Thukhum MTungologiin kKhos Zogdott Khuren (double line neck hair)
Beautiful Bactrian Calf

Breeding Season

The breeding season starts in October and reached its peak in December and slowly declines and ceases in April. Usually, one Bull is enough for up to 70 she-camels. The details of the production traits are given in the table below.

Table: The Production Traits of the Bactrian camel in the region

MonthsConception Rate (%)Calving %ageAvg. Milk (kg)
Breeding season, Percentile of fertility, and milk production

The milk production potential and the lactation curve

Though the Bactrian milk production potential is lower (1-3 liter/day) compared to the Arabian camel (5-15 liter/day), the Bactrian milk is thicker (up to 14% total solids) and full of energy to give special strength to the calf to survive in challenging cold environment. The average milk production based on my survey is 640 ml/day (< 1 kg/day) with a lactation yield of 233 kg. The lactation here is calculated on the annual basis but in actuality, the camel produces for up to 8 months, producing 185 liters in 250 days. Here milk production means the milk which was harvested by the milker keeping in view the calf requirements.

Bactrian camel milk composition

No.ComponentAvg. %Highest level
5Total Solid1214
Milk composition derived from scientific literature for Bactrian

Physical-chemical characterizations of Mongolian Bactrian camel milk

Components %Bactrian (BCaM)Arabian (ACaM)
Specific gravity1.0141.017
pH Values6.436.77
Total Solids14.2312.74
Comparative composition reported from Mongolia by GansaiKhan et al 2011

Some Important Notes about the Bactrian camel Milk

  • The BCaM has higher contents of long chain (polyunsaturated) fatty acids (Mostly C18:1), safe for our heart and circulation system.
  • The BCaM has higher contents of Vit. A and Vit. C, providing additional vitality and survivability to cell life and health.
  • BCaM is rich with Immunoglobulin (considered as supper immune bullets) enabling our health to resist all types of infectious microbiomes.
  • The above facts are equally true for Arabian camel milk (ACaM).

Camel Milk Products

The nomads use camel milk as fresh directly. The surplus is converted into a fermented product (Hormook). The Hormook is used very widely and some products are available in the market in Ulaanbaatar. For further details about Bactrian milk, you can go to the link Detailed Nutritional Composition of Bactrian Camel’s Milk


The surplus Harmok is converted into CM Vodka and the residues are used to make Curt. Curt and Vodka are offered to the guests as a unique product of the Gobi.

The Attachment of Nomads with camel

The nomads love their camel very much. They call it Themeh in the Mongolian language. They use camels for milk, riding/racing, festivals, wool, and also for meat (in rare cases).

12 replies on “Mongolian Bactrian camel -Breeding, Milk Production, and Lactation Curve”

For comparison Bactrian/dromedary milk in similar ecosystem, see the following papers:
1. FAYE B., KONUSPAYEVA G., MESSAD S., LOISEAU G., 2008. Discriminant milk components of Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus), dromedary (Camelus dromedarius) and hybrids. Dairy Sci. Technol., 88, 607-617 (DOI: 10.1051/dst:2008008)
2. KONUSPAYEVA G., FAYE B., LOISEAU G., LEVIEUX D., 2007. Lactoferrin and Immunoglobin content in camel milk from Kazakhstan. J. Dairy Sci., 90, 38-46.
3. KONUSPAYEVA G., LEMARIE E., FAYE B., LOISEAU G., MONTET D., 2008. Fatty acid and cholesterol composition of camel’s (Camelus bactrianus, Camelus dromedarius and hybrids) milk in Kazakhstan. Dairy Sci. Technol., 88, 327-340 (DOI : 10.1051/dst :2008005)

Can you please also tell about the milk production difference, I mean the potential of milk production in
1. Bactrian, as in my study it was 180 kg/lactation (8month).
2. Cross of Bactrian and Arabian (AB camel)? I couldn’t find reliable source.
3. Arabian camel is almost 5-15 kg daily (round and safely we can say)

Best regards

Compared to cow milk, camel milk contains higher contents of minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, and potassium) and vitamins (VA, B2, E, and C) . In addition, the fat in camel milk consists primarily of polyunsaturated fatty acids, and the cholesterol content of camel milk is low . Similar to human milk, camel milk contains α-lactalbumin but lacks β-lactoglobulin and has a low content of β-casein . Compared to the milk of dromedary camels, Bactrian camel milk has higher contents of protein, sugar, and fat, along with a lower lactose content

I appreaciate your answer. Thanks very much. One thing should be clarified that the camel milk have both Lactose and Cholesterol but of different nature, the lactose is not troublesome and the cholesterol is very good for health. it has different cholesterol.

Thank you Dr. Kakar and colleagues for sharing interesting information about Bact. milk.
I have some questions/comments as follow:
What is the feeding systems of those camel types in Magnolia? natural grazing, mixed natural & commercial feeds, etc., and their effects on milk composition.
It was posted that “The BCaM having higher contents of long chain (polyunsaturated) fatty acids (Mostly C18:0), ”
in fact, C18:0 fats are saturated and not polyunsaturated.
I developed typical yogurt ( and recently soft cheese from dromedary camel’s milk.
It will be interesting if I could get a chance to do trials with Bact. milk.
Thank you & best regards.
N. Al-zoreky (Ph.D. in food sci. & tech., USA)
Agricultural Research & Training Station, Camel Research Center
King Faisal University
Saudi Arabia

There is totally natural grazing, and the milk comes from a very healthy ecosystem. Let we collaborate on a chance to make yogurt from the BCaM.
Yes, I noticed the mistake which will be corrected soon. It is rather C18:1. Thanks for the correction and feedback.
Best regards

Dear Dr. Kakar;
Thank you for sharing useful information on camels & their products. My earlier comment on Bactrian camel’s milk has not been posted.
N. Al-zoreky (Ph.D.)
King Faisal University
Saudi Arabia

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