Camel care is extremely challenging. Due to their emotional and physical complexities, camels are different to any other animal.
At Maroma Adventures we have been learning about camel care over many years. In this post, you will discover our basic camel care methodology, how we diagnose illness, our feeding and husbandry methods.
Replicating Their Natural Habitat
What should camels eat? What will a change of season and the bushes and herbs available mean for their self-medication ? A camel that is often in very wet conditions will need some serious man-made adjustments to his environment in order to keep him stress free and healthy.
Limiting a Camel’s Exposure to Stress
Camel care is made more challenging because camels are highly sensitive creatures. If a camel falls ill they will go downhill quickly. It’s important that as a camel owner you learn to read early signs of potential health hazards. This comes with experience and having a good camel mentor to call on. Camels are hardy animals. That is, in their perfect desert environment, but once they leave their ‘camel heaven,’ a more hands on approach to is advisable. Camel stress is a major factor to consider in camel health. One stress on the body (hence immune system) can lead to another. Stress will lower the immune system response, which can evolve into bigger issues down the track. It’s not always easy to tell if a camel is suffering with stress, especially if it’s internal. Sometimes that doesn’t show up until weeks / months later.
Transporting Our Camels
One of the most common questions we get is how we transported our camel(s) to Mexico. will not respond to be treated like cattle. Loading a camel (for the first time) needs to be done under the mentorship of savvy camel handlers. It can be a frustrating, stressful and sometimes an unsuccessful endeavor otherwise. When a camel travels, he likes to sit down once the vehicle begins to move. During travel he will freely stand and sit at his own leisure (unless the camel is tied down).
Parasites in Camels (De-Worming Camels)
Prevention before the cure is a good rule of thumb to follow when it comes to managing parasites in camels. Keeping up the mineral content in camel´s bodies is essential as natural minerals such as copper will help keep parasites at bay. But if the camel has already got parasites, copper will not help rid them. Stress [from parasites] can decrease immune response to parasites in the body, and often result in weight loss. Hence prevention before the cure where possible. If you are concerned about parasites in your camel request a fecal egg count from your local vet.
Worming of your camel is a subject whereby common sense needs to prevail. If you are living in a worm-habituated region, putting your camel onto a regular worming program is wise. There are numerous products on the market but as there is always a risk of the parasites becoming immune to worming preparations, we regularly change the brands/formulas of our worming regime.
General Diet Rules
Camels are herbivores and will graze, eating constantly throughout the day, just as sheep do. Camels are also ruminants, which means they eat food, then regurgitate it and chew it before swallowing one last time. This is why camels have four stomachs, to help them process food properly. Because they live in the desert, where food might be scarce, they move constantly while eating. This actually helps preserve vegetation so no area is completely degraded by constant eating.
Camel care and what they eat
Food choices are scarce in the desert, so camels are not exactly picky. Whatever twigs, stems and green shoots are available, except poisonous plants, which the camel can recognize, he will eat. The camel will even eat plants like saltbush, which are thorny and which most other animals will ignore. Camels near oases have more access to greener options, such as willows and poplar leaves and twigs.
Camel care and salt
How much, how often and in which form should salt (NaCl) be given to a camel?
It is well known by all ethnic groups raising camels worldwide that Old World camels (Camelus dromedarius, Camelus bactrianus) require very large amount of salt: Sodium Chloride (NaCl), in their diet. A camel needs eight times as much salt as do cattle and sheep. According to camel pastoralists pure rock salt has a beneficial effect on the general well-being and fertility of camels and particularly their skin condition.
For more information on Camel husbandry contact www.maromaadventures.com. W e also recommend you pick up a copy of the Camel Husbandry Handbook from our friends at Australian Camels.