Milking camels takes a gentle, cooperative partnership among the farmer, mother camel and her calf.
Just as it has been done for thousands of years, our mother camels raise their own calves and we train them to share the milk with us.
We milk up to two times daily and collect about one third of what she produces. The calf takes the other two thirds. We build up the amount of milk we collect slowly and give the mother clean, safe and natural nutritional supplements to help her make for her "twins". (by the way... we are one of the twins.)
Female camels become reproductive at about age three and we introduce them to the herd bull when they are four years old.
After a thirteen month gestation, the female will give birth to one calf. It is our practice to leave the mother and calf to themselves for at least a week to allow them to really bond and get their personal routine down.
Then, we bring the mother into the milking parlor allowing her calf to pad along and learn the new surroundings.
The calf is smart and learns that if she asks her mother for milk in the parlor area and the mother "drops" her milk for her, we will give them both a treat.
The calf learns quickly that she can get both milk and a treat in the parlor.
When the calf is successfully getting her mother to drop milk in the parlor, we begin hand milking... just two of her four teats and start collecting milk.
It is important to note that mother camels only drop milk for 90 seconds so you are not going to get very much
Soon the calf learns that after she enjoys the treats we give her, she can ask for milk again back in the pasture with her mother so she quickly learns to ask for milk and then quickly go up to where mom is eating treats to get her share.
Once the calf is doing this, we can milk both sides of the mother calmly and, if we are good milkers, collect about four liters a little over one gallon of milk.
The mother/calf/farmer team work together for around one year. At that time, the calf is ready to naturally wean.
We can then start the cycle again when the mother is receptive. Each female camel can have a calf about once every three years: 13 month gestation / 12 months milking / 13 (give or take a few) months gestation
During the year of milking, the calf will work daily with the farmer and a synergistic rhythm of non force handling so the calf learns to trust and rely on the farmer. Like the mother camel and other herd mates, the calf sees the farmer as a senior member of the herd and looks to the farmer for guidance and instruction.
Female calves stay on at the Dairy and eventually become milking partners.
Male calves often also stay on at the Dairy learning to give Camel Rides and participate in Camel Encounters with guests.
Male calves may also find new homes with other professional and private individuals who align with our philosophy and practice of camel husbandry, training and care.
WHY WE DO IT
To put it as simply as we can; we love being with camels. We love giving them a big, beautiful home and a real family life like they have enjoyed for thousands of years.
We believe in the humanity of the milking technique we practice and promote. We appreciate the camel milk and have seen first hand the lives it has changed.
As society grows and wild places get smaller, it is those animals that are useful to humans that will survive. Camels are useful. The can carry us, comfort us, cloth and nourish us.
They must be cherished respected and cared for.
Camel milk is the closest milk to human mothers milk and is naturally antibacterial, antifungal, easily digestible and non-allergic.
In the USA today, camel milk is being consumed by people with certain forms of autism, gut issues like crones, colitis and IBS and diabetes.
As good as camel milk is for you on the inside is also nourishes your outsides too.
The Oasis Camel Dairy takes our fresh, raw camel milk and combines it with natural, proprietary ingredients into skin loving soaps, lotions, serum, lip treatments and bath bombs.