Milk production performance of pastorally managed camels in eastern Ethiopia
Department of Animal Sciences, Alemaya University, PO Box 138, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia; Van Hall Larenstein University of Professional Education, P.O. Box 411, 6700 A A Wageningen, Netherlands
Milk production of 30 Iactating camels belonging to 1 herd of 100 heads was monitored during 19 months from March 1996 to September 1997 in eastern Ethiopia. The effects of season of calving, parity, and calf survival up to weaning on mean daily yield, peak yield, total lactation yield, lactation length, days open, and calving interval were assessed. The least square means (± standard deviation) of the daily, peak, and lactation yield were 7.5 ± 0.5, 11.5 ± 0.5, and 2104 ± 97 L, respectively. The least square means of lactation length, days open, and calving interval were 282 ± 10, 199 ± 13, and 573 ± 14 days, respectively. All parameters were significantly (P < 0.05) affected by the season of calving. The maximum lactation yield was observed for camels in the third and fourth lactations. The lactation curves had a typical shape, although Iess pronounced for camels that calved during the long dry season. Camels that calved in the long wet season and older camels showed a lower persistency. Camels whose calves died before weaning showed a significantly higher yield than camels whose calves stayed alive. The fat, protein, casein, total solids, and solids non-fat were 39 ± 4, 29 ± 3, 23 ± 2, 131 ± 6, and 92 ± 6 g kg-1, respectively. They were all significantly affected by parity and month of lactation. It was concluded that during the dry season, the herd produced a substantial amount of milk for the pastoralists. © 2005 Trap. Aqric. (Trinidad).