Q: Can a camel be a dairy animal?
A: Yes, because of many reasons but a camel for dairy doesn’t mean the monocultural cow dairy model.
Q: What should be the salient features and goals of a dairy camel?
A: There are many characteristics that are considered the best tools to select a camel for dairy purposes.
- A female camel with good reproductive performance like first calving (5 years of age), calving interval (2 years), zero or very low abortion rate
- A camel owing the dairy characteristics (discussed in many articles)
- Thriftiness (but not feed conversion efficiency like in the cow model), in camel farming we provide according to the needs but not as a reward for milk
- Mothering ability (the connection with the calf and the presence of the calf) is very crucial for milk production in camels
- Efficient milking ability (machine milking ability as well)
- Social, friendly, and good in temperament (happy and friendly camels produce in stress-free conditions
- Having an average production above 1500 kg per lactation (300 days)
- Having a lactation of more than 8 months
Camel is a very good dairy animal in many ways, an efficient biological machine, highly adapted to climate change, and produces milk in extreme weather. https://camel4all.info/index.php/2023/11/16/the-charecteristcs-of-a-dairy-camel/
A very typical example of a high-yielding dairy camel. Udder, teats, milk vein, and rib cage of a high-yielding camel. Such signs will help you in selecting a dairy camel. This camel is producing >20 kg per day. The udder conformation (in the following image) tells most of the dairy traits in camels.
Coordinated body parts, clearly defined organs, healthy coat, barrel shape thoracic region, spacy belly, medium-sized hump, and shining body coats are the salient features of a dairy camel. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/216145752_Camel_a_potential_dairy_animal_in_difficult_environments
Camel milk production is stable in almost all seasons, which is very important for pastoralists when the milk of other animals is seized in the dry period. Camel intake per kg of milk produced is very low, making it an efficient biological model. Understanding the potential of the camel as a milch animal.