The Camel Dairy Queen – Khawar breed of Salalah Oman


Synonyms: Khawarah and Dhofari camel breed

Habitat of the Breed – Land of Frankense is the Land of Khawarah

The Khawar or Khawarah breed of the camel is found in the Southeastern Arabian Peninsula but the herds of true specimen breed are found in the Dhofar region, especially Salalah. The nucleus herds of the breed with purity are found in the mountainous region of Salalah, where they can browse on good woody vegetation of combtree (anogeissus dhofarica), Acacia, and other trees and shrubs. Dhofar is centric on the frankness trade and history of the region. Almost 60% of the Omani camels are inhibited in the Dhofar region which is predominantly comprised of the Dhofari or Khawar breed followed by MAHALI (a thorough crossbred of Khawar, Majaheem, and Brela). Such a combination is also called a MUHAJAN or Majajan.

Ecological zones of Dhofar governorate.

Salient features of the Khawarah camel

Khawarah camels are beautiful, having dark brown, light brown, fawn, reddish, white, and creamy red colors. The color diversity comes with the diversity of landscape and ecosystems. With a medium-sized head, the breed has a deer’s mouth (Their lower lip is not hanging like other fellows of the desert). They have a medium head with a medium-sized neck and ears.

Almost 2 meters high, the body is slightly longer than the high and the camel has a very prominent barrel-like thorax, making it an excellent dairy camel. The camels have very beautiful angular ribs making a 45 degree against the vertebral columns. Medium in size, ranging from 250 to 350 kg live body weight. The size is slightly larger in the plain lands than in the mountain ecosystem, ranging from 300 to 400 kg live body weight. The breed is very friendly in nature and the cameleers treat them as their family member.

Beautiful Dhofari Naqa in Salalah Oman
The camels in Salalah are predominantly comprised of Khawar or Dhofari breed. They are highly adapted to the mountainous ecosystems and rely on the local vegetation and thrive very well.

Why Khawarah is a good dairy camel?

Like other camel fellows, Khawarah is a multipurpose animal, performing many tasks for their owners but the milk production tops the other features in the Khawarah camels. There are some very important arguments proving it is a fashoosh camel. Fashoosh means a friendly camel with highly desirable teats and udder with very easy milking. https://arkbiodiv.com/2017/12/19/easy-and-fast-vs-the-difficult-and-slow-milking-camelsthe-arabs-traditional-knowledge/amp/

Image of the teat anatomy of the Fashoosh and Ghamoos teats’ types

A Future dairy camel

Based on my personal long experience with the dairy camels, our best high-yielding and easy milking camels are mainly from the Khawarah breed. I have been working with the world’s most modern and pioneer camel dairy in the world. They have medium-sized teats with strongly attached but deep udder. The teats are conical in shape and very well fit for the machine milking. They have very good milking ability and shorter actual milking time (AMT) in the machine milking because of their behavior and well fit teat size.

Salalah is the future hub and the nucleus of pure Khawarah camel

Salalah is the hub of the Khawarah breed and the nucleus of the pure genetic pool. Here, the cameleers have maintained the pure genetic line of the breed and they have strong oral and traditional knowledge about the genealogy and husbandry of the breed. Here you can find the best specimens of the breeds with a promising yield of milk up to 35 kg/day. As the camel is slow in reproduction and the demand for the camel as a food security animal is ever increasing especially in the climate change scenarios, there is a pivotal need to establish a camel center where the best dairy camels can be maintained and propagated through modern reproductive techniques. The camel is the animal of the future and the next oil for the Arabian Peninsula and other camels’ habitats.

The Camel adapts a unique strategy to cope with the dry season

As mentioned in Quraan, ‘DO THEY NOT LOOK AT THE CAMEL, HOW STRANGE THEY ARE MADE’ the camel is unique and the animal of its kind. The camels cope with the dry season when there is very rare or no vegetation available. Only the twigs of woody flora, dried out grasses, and bushes are available, the camels need strong and diverse microflora in their gut to digest such a woody feed. The camels start eating camel manure balls (CMB) of other camel fellows and the soil of the termites’ dunes. I have already written about this topic, the link is here https://arkbiodiv.com/2021/11/25/camels-and-termites-a-symbiotic-relationship-is-bridged-by-the-guts-microbiota/amp/

They eat the CMB to fortify and diversify the gut microbiome. As termites have the most efficient microbiome in their gut to digest wood, bark, and other tough material. While eating the termites’ dunes mud, they introduce such microbiome into their gut to digest the wood material of the dry season. If you notice, you can find one thing even more interesting where there are camels, the cows in the same ecosystem are healthy and flashy because of the introduction of the camel gut microbiome into the cattle gut. I noticed that the cows are very healthy in Salalah while the weather was dry and no vegetation was available. https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2013-07-11/cattle-camel-cograzing/4811026

Camel eating CMB and dry roughages
Camel eating CMB and dry roughages in Salalah

Dairy companies are interested in camel milk

The interest of dairy companies is ever increasing in camel milk as there is a higher demand for camel milk in the regions where the camels are only existing in the zoos or with the hobby farmers. The Chinese market is one of the most important markets, especially for the camel PowderMilk. The main driver behind the higher demand for camel milk is its health-promising characteristics. In the Salalah region, Almarooj has already launched its camel milk collection and processing project with a target collection of 4.32 million liters per year. https://www.omanobserver.om/article/1115283/business/markets/al-morooj-dairy-launches-first-camel-milk-based-products

The Cameleers have a complaint

The cameleers keep their camels as their family members and each camel has its name. The cameleers want to sustain the camel profession that their forefathers have handed over to them. They are not looking for earning millions but they expect to have a return at least to sustain camel farming. The calamities of climate change, the higher stocking capacity, and the land commercialization have shrunk the opportunities of natural herbage for the camels to eat and thrive. They really need some surplus income to feed their camels properly as only grazing can’t support their feeding regime. The company collecting milk from the cameleers most of the time rejects the milk only on the basis of the fat contents which can’t be justified. The fat, protein, lactose, ash, and other contents are naturally provided in the milk by the camel genome and the farmers can’t manipulate the chemistry of the milk. The milk derived from the camel udder is camel milk. It should not be rejected based on the chemical composition of the milk. Yes, it can be rejected if water is added, contaminated with antibiotics and chemicals or there is a high microbial count.

2 thoughts on “The Camel Dairy Queen – Khawar breed of Salalah Oman

  1. barriereid April 15, 2022 / 1:23 pm

    Good morning doctor, wonderful article. I spoke with two pastoralists at COP26, one from Kenya and one from Mongolia. There the subject of animals worth in terms of milk, meat, skin and breeding naturally arrived, which was always undermined by the middle-men who claimed to be in the know and have successively paid less for the animals sold to them. I encountered the same problem with camel stock in Mauritania, Mali, Morocco and Niger. The milk although lauded over and much acclaimed never brought the financial success it should have. Although one English woman opened up a dairy called Tiviski and one can buy ice cream, yogurt and cheese in Nouakchott. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dr Raziq Kakar April 15, 2022 / 5:18 pm

      My pleasure, thanks very much. Camel milk is now attracting many people from the non camel cultures which is a success.

      Liked by 1 person

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