Camels provide ‘ancient’ milk alternative for adults

Published: May. 27, 2022 at 10:36 AM CDT
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DENVER, Colo. (KCNC) – In far-eastern Colorado, eight miles from the Nebraska border, there is a dairy farm called “Camelot.”

Instead of using cow’s milk, the farmers there harvest the milk from camels.

“The camel is a very overlooked animal, for sure,” dairy farmer Kyle Hendrix said.

Majestic, smart and curious, camels are kind and have unique personalities.

“You have to get on a personal level with each one and try to work with them, and work with their personalities,” Hendrix explained.

Hendrix is a first-generation dairy farmer.

He and his family produce milk from his caravan of camels at one of only two licensed camel dairies in the United States.

Hendrix said each camel has to be milked with her calf.

“It’s quite a process, and you only have about 90 seconds to harvest that milk,” Hendrix explained.

The harvest yields up to 1.5 gallons of milk a day. It’s pasteurized to kill the bacteria, then bottled and frozen for shipping.

Camelot has a hard time meeting demand as camel’s milk is considered a healthy milk. It’s higher in antioxidants and has low levels of sugar and saturated fat.

Some consider it a perfect substitute for people who can’t tolerate cow’s milk.

“There are some potential benefits for adults or even children, not infants and young toddlers who need to be consuming formula,” said Bonnie Jortberg, a registered dietitian and nutritionist at the University of Colorado Anschutz medical campus.

One drawback, however, is that camel milk is expensive in the U.S. – one pint sells for between $12-$16.

In addition to the camel dairy in Colorado, there’s also one in Ramona, California.

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