Drinking Camel Milk Until the Cows Come Home


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Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai
December 16th 2014
Published: December 17th 2014
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Entrance to Dairy ComplexEntrance to Dairy ComplexEntrance to Dairy Complex

It is a camel dairy with a purple marketing plan...seriously, it is like they jumped into my brain when they created this brand.
I remember the morning and evening chores at Shamrock Farms. Grampy opened the gate for the milk cow who was always waiting at the gate. She voluntarily marched into the front stall of the barn like a dutiful employee and wait for Grampy to milk her. Grampy balanced on the tiny T-shaped wooden stool and press his head into her side as he methodically gathered her contribution for the breakfast table. We then carefully took the big silver bucket full of warm milk to the ranch house where Granny would strain most of the cream off the top. That is how we got our milk, and cream for ice cream.

I never enjoyed milking and many times would "accidentally" shoot the milk to the patient audience of cats watching me fumble through through the task. And, if no one was around, I allowed the calf to nurse in excess in an effort to streamline the process. ("He needs the milk more than we do," I would justify.) I showed up at the ranch house with a meager amount and allow the adults to assume the cow was not as cooperative without Grampy at the helm. Yes, the milking chores were
Time to Milk the CamelsTime to Milk the CamelsTime to Milk the Camels

This is where the action is! The camels come in as part of a designated group, methodically go into their stall and within 2 minutes, the group is released to return their pen. They move quietly and calmly.
better left to the old herdsman, not the impatient child.

This dusty memory shares little in common with the chores at the Camelicious Dairy in the United Arab Emirates. The duties at Camelicious are the kind of chores I could really enjoy (they involve camels, duh!). The dairy is home to 4,200 camels who provide nutrient rich milk daily. The milk is used for sale in grocery stores, making chocolates and making cheese. Consumers want the milk because it is easier to digest, has less fat, is higher in calcium and vitamin C, boosts the immune system and has more vitamins than cow milk. The draw to camel milk is evident in the US too. Last week, I found camel milk in Whole Foods in Kansas City. It cost $20 for 16 ounces!

We have wanted to tour the facility for some time, but it became quite an ordeal to get access. After much fanagling and hoop jumping, we got in! Once inside, it was difficult to see much of the facility, sample the product or gain a great deal of information, but it was well worth the visit. Many things were off limits in the name of
Milk StationMilk StationMilk Station

This close-up view is thanks to determination. We were in an unrestricted area--we walked up to see the process and were reminded this was not part of the tour. We were able to stall a bit and linger by using language barrier innocence.
"biosecurity".

The biggest tease was the camel nursery. We could see the nursery and all of the adorable little calves, but we were unable to walk near them. We gave them the hard sell, begged and negotiated but found little success. One of the veterinarians took pity on us and was about allow me to go to the nursery when we were stopped by someone with more power. They told me the birth mortality rate for camels in UAE is 34% and that they work to keep their rate under 10%. I hope they inflated the rates to scare me because they sound horrifyingly high.


Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


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Hungry GirlsHungry Girls
Hungry Girls

Universal camel language is spoken with carrots.
Keep 'em ComingKeep 'em Coming
Keep 'em Coming

Carrots seem to make everyone happy.
Brand New BabyBrand New Baby
Brand New Baby

What a cute little newborn black calf. He is wearing a blanket because it is winter. You have no idea how badly I wanted to get my hands on these cute little critters!
Moving the MilkMoving the Milk
Moving the Milk

This looks like the dairies at home.
Camelicious TransportationCamelicious Transportation
Camelicious Transportation

The dairy sells their milk in local supermarkets. They offer milk in 5 flavors: plain, chocolate, saffron, strawberry and date. So far, we have only tried plain. Delicious!
Camel NurseryCamel Nursery
Camel Nursery

This is a zoomed in image of the nursery. One of the babies was so small, he walked under his mama's belly. Another one was feeling lively--he ran around the nursery testing out his legs until he tumbled down.


17th December 2014
Camel Nursery

Fun
It looks as though you are all having a great time. Did you really milk a cow? I did once but never asked again.
17th December 2014

Camelicious - What a name.
I had no idea such a thing (camel dairy) exiseted or that camels were a tolerant of milking as cows. Fascinating stuff! Thanks for sharing.
17th December 2014

Camelicious
You need to expand your herd with females and hone your milking skills! Fascinating!
17th December 2014

Not so different from a beef dairy!
I did not realize you milked as a kid Vals, I liked to milk as long as the cow wasn't a kicker. You could probably get a job in the advertising department at this company Vals. That is quite an endorsement for camel milk! Do you know how many gallon of milk a camel gives per milking? Nancy
17th December 2014

Not so different from a beef dairy!
I did not realize you milked as a kid Vals, I liked to milk as long as the cow wasn't a kicker. You could probably get a job in the advertising department at this company Vals. That is quite an endorsement for camel milk! Do you know how many gallon of milk a camel gives per milking? Nancy
19th December 2014

Hi Nancy! We were told a camel can produe about 20 liters per day
19th December 2014

Nancy-- I only had to milk when Grampy was not able to do it (like in the hospital, at Halstead, etc), so I guess I milked quite a bit! :)
17th December 2014

I had no idea that camel milk production was such a big industry. Nice pics!
18th December 2014

Looks like you are having a great time!
Looks like the camels enjoy carrots much like our dogs do.
18th December 2014

Looks like you are having a great time!
Looks like the camels enjoy carrots much like our dogs do.
18th December 2014

Looks like you are having a great time!
Looks like the camels enjoy carrots much like our dogs do.
18th December 2014

Dont tell Peter
Great to hear your having a lovely time there, just reminds me of Peter riding in Jordan a camel at Petra. Take care from us in Australia

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