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Acta Vet Hung. 2013 Mar;61(1):71-84. doi: 10.1556/AVet.2012.051.

Milk production, raw milk quality and fertility of dromedary camels (Camelus Dromedarius) under intensive management.

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Farm and Veterinary Section Emirates Industries for Camel Milk and Products P.O. Box 294236 Dubai United Arab Emirates.


In many arid countries, dromedaries play an important role as a milk source in rural areas. However, the milk and meat production potential of this species is not well understood and documented. A large-scale camel dairy farm was established in 2006 in the United Arab Emirates. This study summarises the most important data on milk production, raw milk quality and reproductive efficiency collected on this farm during the first three years of operation. The average daily milk production, the mean length of lactation and the mean total milk production per lactation of 174 dromedaries were 6.0 ± 0.12 kg (± SEM), 586 ± 11.0 days (± SEM) and 3314 ± 98.5 kg (± SEM), respectively. The lactation curve reached its peak during the 4th month after parturition (mean ± SEM, 8.9 ± 0.04 kg), then it declined gradually, falling to 50% of the maximum by the 16th month postpartum (mean ± SEM, 4.3 ± 0.06 kg). Milking three times a day did not increase daily milk production compared to two times milking. Mean total viable bacterial count (TVC) and mean somatic cell count (SCC, ± SEM) of bulk raw camel milk were 4,403 ± 94 CFU/cm3 and 392,602 ± 5,999 cells/cm3 for a one-year period, respectively. There was a significant difference among months (P < 0.001). Coliform count was < 10 CFU/cm3 in most cases (96.5%). The average (± SEM) fat, protein, lactose, total solids (TS) and solid-non-fat (SNF) concentrations of individual milk samples were 2.51 ± 0.03%, 2.60 ± 0.01%, 4.03 ± 0.03%, 9.98 ± 0.03% and 7.56 ± 0.03%, respectively. Lactation period, average daily milk production and morning vs. evening milking significantly influenced milk chemical composition. For the 470 camels in the breeding programme, end-of-season pregnancy rate and birth rate were 87.0% and 82.6%, respectively, after natural mating. We have demonstrated that sustainable milk production is possible from a traditional species, the dromedary camel, under an intensive management system.

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