Keeping Camels Healthy: 3 Key Elements
In the past you’d often find me looking at my camels from a distance (with my head half titled), wondering if they are a healthy weight and taking note of their body changes, any grazes, cuts or wounds they might have and the consistency of their stools (fancy word for poo).
Truth be told, I was kinda wasting time doing this because I didn’t really know what I was looking for since there are no guides, books or documents to help me determine a camel’s health (besides the very complex camel veterinary manuals I have).
In this episode I’m covering the 3 Key Elements you need to know For a Healthy Camel, lets dive in…
Having had extensive animal husbandry experience personally is one thing, but this only helped me so far when it came to camel husbandry & care - camels are a whole other complexity I’ve discovered. You might have found this too along your journey…?
There are 3 important key elements to determine if your camel is healthy and these are:
1. A camel’s parasite (worm) load: 99.9999% of domesticated camels have a parasite/worm load due to their lack of resistance to worms (unlike other large, more common, domesticated animals such as cattle & horses which have been domesticated longer than camels, arguably of course, nonetheless camels have not built up resistance to worms, which can cause some serious health implications for camels in a domestic environment.
Side tip: The only way to know FOR SURE if your camels have worms, is to have their stools tested, this is the only way
A. Pro Tip: don’t bother drenching your camels on a, in quotes, “regular regime” because:
i. You don’t know what worms they do have, unless of course they were tested so you can’t say for sure that you’re treating them with the right medication and
ii. You’re potentially creating resistance problems down the track and
iii. If you medicate for worms then put the camels in the same area / paddock / yard as they were in prior to medication, you’re reinfecting and again, wasting money.
The second key element to determine a camel’s good health:
2. Feeding Correct Camel Nutrition:
Camel’s have a very unique biological makeup compared to other large animals and as uch as humans think they are feeding the camel when they feed, you’re not! You’re actually feeding the camels beautiful complex stomach because that’s where all good health starts with camels - at the stomachs - yes camels are 3 Pseudo ruminate stomachs, what’s the difference between ruminant and Pseudo ruminant stomachs you might ask (Sourced directly from a veterinary science website):
The key difference between pseudo ruminant and ruminant systems is that pseudo ruminant digestive system has only three compartments in the stomach and it lacks a rumen, while the ruminant digestive system has four compartments (example bovine / cattle) in the large stomach including the rumen.
Simply put, you cannot expect a camel to be in its best health if you don’t know what a camel SHOULD be eating, not just what they will eat, cos camels will eat A LOT of things, but that doens;t mean it’s good for them.
I’ll throw a spanner in the works here… Liken to the “cholate is good for you / cholate is bad for you debate” and that is: Camel’s cannot fully digest GRAINS. That meaning, if they are not able to fully digest grains due to their pseudo ruminant their digestive system is under stress and therefore more susceptible to health issues.
Camels should be eating foods that are longer in length than 5cm to help support their healthy gut bacteria and good health.
The third key element to determine a camel’s good health
3. A Camel’s Growth Rate: Do you know what bodyweight your camels should be for their particular age? I certainly didn't until I acquired the knowledge! From newborn camels to adult camels, there is a formula for a healthy growth rate and body weight (kg/lbs) for all ages of camels.
Tracking my camels growth and weights gain / loss (in both young and older camels) has been a game changer for my camel’s wellbeing.
Not only does knowing your camels weight help you medicate them correctly (think, dewormers), but it also helps you keep track of how well they are doing in their health.
Knowing exactly where your camels fall on the growth and weight scale will help you adjust nutrition and feed accordingly. Maybe your camels is not heavy enough for their age, maybe they are overweight and looking at major health issues down the track….? Knowing a camel’s growth weight is important (and fun to mess around with, cos… any excuse to be around camels right!?)
Side note here: You don’t even need large scales to get your camels weight… Their is a method called the Tape Measure Method, that involves, you guessed a tape measure! The tutorial and printable instructions are available in The Camel Connection Academy.
This brings me to something really exciting I want to share with you!
Recently in the Camel Connection Academy, I compiled Camel Growth Rate Charts that, first and foremost, are pretty to look at & read *winks* and second of all you can download them and print them off for reference for yourself and your camel husbandry & care routines, as well as for your local vet!
Honestly, I wish I had these Camel Growth Rate Charts YEARS ago, they even cover the number of grams per day a camel should be gaining weight - impressive huh!?
This is golden information that any and all camel owners or wannabe owners (and carers) need!
If you own camels (or are about to) you need these charts, because I can tell you from someone who has not had these kinds of resources (aka me!), then having these resources has changed the way I care for my camels...
I’m pretty sure my camels are happy that I’m more [camel] competent & confident in their care (if only they could speak - I spose they show their appreciation through their ‘kisses’)!
So, don’t delay in getting more Know-How in your camel care & husbandry!
That is... if you want your camels to live a long, healthy & happy life….? #IsThatATrickQuestion
You’ll not only get these important growth rate charts, but an entire library of other camel health, wellbeing, care, vet talks, training, handling, management resources & Live Q&A calls in our members portal online.
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