I have a running joke when random people ask me “what does a camel eat?” Before answering, I’ll scan who they are with. If I see children present I’ll reply “They have a child for breakfast every morning” then, of course, I laugh and everyone laughs along nervously.
Clearly I’m taking advantage of people’s lack of knowledge on camels, crude I know, but I just can’t help myself plus I consider it a good “ice breaker” for me to start rambling on about how incredible camels are, especially their biology…
Really though, the question should be what SHOULD a camel eat, because camel’s will eat many different things, even things that aren’t good for them (like small children *jokes*), but that doesn’t warrant correct feeding.
A big myth that people (particularly in Australia) have about camels that they will eat crappy hays and feeds and often stockfeed places will try to sell these to new camel owners, only for the owner to have sick camels either soon after feeding or months after (remember camels are survival animals, they WILL hide their symptoms).
Here’s the funky (literally) truth:
Camel’s are walking compost heaps (as Camel Vet, Margie Bale puts it). They have 3 stomachs and all stomachs are working as a compost to create healthy bacterias to help camels stay healthy, keep a healthy weight (i.e. healthy hump), keep the minerals & nutrition circulating through their bodies so that the camel can be at its optimum health, just to name a few things. The camel’s stomach is what keeps them healthy – even skin & parasite (worm) issues can be nutrition related!
When you’re feeding a camel, you’re not actually feeding The Camel, you’re feeding the Camel’s Stomach. This is the golden rule of Camel Husbandry 101, memorise it and practice it.
So what should a camel eat? Here’s a two camel feeding tips:
- Grains are a No No (yes, glorious sweet grains that camel’s love to devour).
Grains are not a suitable daily food for camels due to the fact that the camel’s stomach (remember, we’re feeding the stomach) is unable to break down the grain correctly leaving the stomach in ‘stress’ and an overactive mode which is the perfect environment for parasites to multiply and other health issues to arise.
- Pure Feeds: Camel’s should not eat crappy foods and stick to feeds in their purest forms (i.e. not have a pile of additives that you can barely pronounce). Some formulated feeds in bags can kill camels due to their additives.
As a camel owner you have to know:
- What exactly is in the feed (including hays)
- Where the hay was grown (because you don’t want pasture hay’s high in oxalates as this will cause major health issues later on).
- That the quality is good – visually see for yourself the quality. Once I made the mistake of buying $1000 worth of hay only to find out on arrival that it was full of mould & other crap that was not suitable for camels, but the seller said “I heard camels can eat anything…” Point!
Even though it may seem that feeding camels is complicated, it’s not, once you know How.
Camel’s have daily, weekly & monthly requirements and we help members in our Cameleer Academy all the time find the right camel feeding & husbandry routine that’s right for them and their geographic locations & what feeds are available locally.
As we keep saying over and over and over again (and our Camel Vet agrees) camels have a completely different biology from any other animal, a camel needs to be fed….Like a Camel!
We cannot feed camels like any other animal.
We cannot medically treat camels like any other animals.
A camel’s entire makeup is what makes them the incredible creatures they are and it’s our job (as camel owners or future camel owners) to keep them as healthy as possible outside their natural desert environment.
As Camel Vet Dr Margie Bale says… “Providing a good landscape for your camels, will provide you with a healthy camel”
P.S. If you want more info on camel nutrition, feeding, ratios guides, mineral intake & other great camel care & husbandry methods here’s how we can help:
You can watch or listen to one of our most popular Talks in the Cameleer Academy on Camel Nutrition & Toxic Feeds/Plants. You might be surprised by a few facts you don’t already know. [Become a member for instant access – Click here]
If you’re after a quick fix to your camel’s feeding routine, formulated by a Camel Vet, we have a Camel Pellet formula (to give to a feed mill to makeup) & Camel feed ratio chart for you in The Academy, [become a member to access – Click Here to access it]
Also, This month (July) in the Cameleer Academy we are hosting a Camel Vet Q&A call, so if you’d like to get your camel feeding & nutrition routine sorted once and for all, by [an actual] Camel Vet then become a member today (for a tiny fee, compared to a Vet Consult). Once you’re a member you’ll get an invite to join the up and coming call to ask and get a Camel Vet opinion on your camel’s feeding & nutrition routine plus get access to the entire library or talks, demos & lessons on camel handling, vet care, husbandry & equipment.
To become a member of the Cameleer Academy JOIN HERE and we’ll see you in The Academy!
Happy Camel Connecting!