Relationship between udder morphology traits, alveolar and cisternal milk compartments and machine milking performances of dairy camels (Camelus dromedarius)

M. Ayadi, R. S. Aljumaah, A. Musaad, E. M. Samara, M. M. Abdelrahman, M. A. Alshaikh, S. K. Saleh, B. Faye


A total of 22 dairy dromedary camels under intensive conditions in late lactation (275±24 days) were used to study the relationship between external and internal udder morphology and machine milking performances. Measurements of udder and teat morphology were obtained immediately before milking and in duplicate. Individual milk yield, lag time and total milking time were recorded during milking, and milk samples were collected and analyzed for milk composition thereafter. Cisternal and alveolar milk volumes and composition were evaluated at 9 h milking interval. Results revealed that dairy camels had well developed udders and milk veins, with medium sized teats. On average, milk yield as well as milk fat and protein contents were 4.80±0.50 L d-1, 2.61±0.16% and 3.08±0.05%, respectively. The low fat values observed indicated incomplete milk letdown during machine milking. Lag time, and total milking time were 3.0±0.3, and 120.0±8.9s, on average, respectively. Positive correlations (p<0.05) were observed between milk yield and udder depth (r=0.37), distance between teats (r=0.57) and milk vein diameter (r=0.28), while a negative correlation was found with udder height (r=-0.25, p<0.05). Cisternal milk accounted for 11% of the total udder milk. Positive correlations were observed between total milk yield and volume of alveolar milk (r=0.98; p<0.001) as well as with volume of cisternal milk (r=0.63, p<0.05). Despite the low udder milk storage capacity observed in dairy camels, our study concluded that the evaluated dromedary sample had adequate udder morphology for machine milking. Finally, positive relationships were detected between milk yield and udder morphology traits of dairy camels.


dromedary camel; milk production; udder traits; cisternal milk; intensive system

Full Text:



Abdallah HR, Faye B, 2012. Phenotypic classification of Saudi Arabian camel (Camelus dromedarius) by their body measurements. Emir J Food Agric 24: 272-280.

Agriculture Statistical Year Book, 2010. Agricultural Research and Development Affairs, Department of Studies, Planning and Statistics. Ministry of Agriculture, Saudi Arabia. 22: 163-165.

Alfonso RE, Herrera HJ., Lemus FC., Ortega CME, Cortez RC, Perez PJ, 2011. Morphometric characterization of American Brown Swiss cows in tropical region of Chiapas, Mexico. J Anim Vet Adv 4: 454-459.

Al-Haidary AA, 2006. Seasonal variation in thermoregulatory and some physiological responses of Arabian camel (Camelus dromedarius). J Saudi Soc Agr Sci 5: 30-41.

Aljumaah RS, Almutairi FF, Ayadi M, Alshaikh MA, Aljumaah AM, Hussein MF, 2011. Factors influencing the incidence of subclinical mastitis in lactating dromedary camels in Riyadh region, Saudi Arabia. Trop Anim Health Prod 43: 1605-1610. PMid:21637994

Aljumaah RS, Almutairi FF, Ismail E, Alshaikh MA, Sami A, Ayadi, M, 2012a. Effects of production system, breed, parity and stage of lactation on milk composition of dromedary camels in Saudi Arabia. J Anim Vet Adv 11: 141-147.

Aljumaah RS, Ayadi M., Alshaikh MA, Casals R, Caja G, 2012b. Milk components relationship and energy corrected milk standardization for dairy camels. Proc 3th Int Conf of Camelid Research and Development, Muscat (Sultanate of Oman), 29 Jan-01 Feb. pp: 423-424.

Ayadi M, Caja G, Such X, Knight CH, 2003. Effect of omitting one milking weekly on lactational performances and morphological udder changes in dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 86: 2352-2358.

Ayadi M, Caja G, Such X, Rovai M, Albanell E, 2004. Effect of different milking intervals on the composition of cisternal and alveolar milk in dairy cows. J Dairy Res 71: 304-310. PMid:15354576

Ayadi M, Hammadi M, Khorchani T, Barmat A, Attigui M, Caja G, 2009. Effects of milking interval and cisternal udder evaluation in Tunisian Maghrebi dairy dromedaries (Camelus dromedarius L.). J Dairy Sci 92: 1452-1459. PMid:19307626

Bruckmaier RM, 2005. Normal and disturbed milk ejection in dairy cows. Dom Animal Endocrin 29: 268-273. PMid:15998500

Bruckmaier RM, Schams D, Blum JW, 1993. Milk removal in familiar and unfamiliar surroundings: Concentrations of oxytocin, prolactin, cortisol and β-endorphin. J Dairy Res 60: 449-456. PMid:8294603

Caja G, Ayadi M, Knight CH, 2004. Changes in cisternal compartment based on stage of lactation and time since milk ejection in the udder of dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 87: 2409-2415.

Castillo V, Such X, Caja G, Casals R, Albanell E, Salama AAK, 2008. Effect of milking interval on milk secretion and mammary tight junction permeability in dairy ewes. J Dairy Sci 91: 2610-2619. PMid:18565920

Cowie AT, Tindal JS, 1971. The physiology of lactation. Camelot Press Ltd., London. PMCid:PMC376274

Davis SR, Farr VC, Copeman PJA, Carruthers VR, Knight CH, Stelwagen K, 1998. Partitioning of milk accumulation between cisternal and alveolar compartments of the bovine udder: relationship to production loss during once daily milking. J Dairy Res 65:1-8. PMid:9513051

Eisa MO, Ishag IA, Abu-Nikhaila AM, 2010. A note on the relationships between udder morphometric and milk yield of Lahween camel (Camelus dromedarius). Livest Res Rural Develop. Available in [30 December 2012].

Faye B, 2005. Productivity potential of camels. Proc Int Workshop of Life and Behavioural Sciences. Amsterdam (Netherlands), 17 Sep. pp: 127-134.

Gaili ESE, Al-Eknah MM, Sadek MH, 2000. Comparative milking performance of three types of Saudi camels (Camelus dromedarius). J Camel Pract Res 7: 73-76.

Hammadi M, Atigui M, Ayadi M, Barmat A, Belgacem A, Khaldi G, Khorchani T, 2010. Training period and short time effects of machine milking on milk yield and milk composition in Tunisian Maghrebi camels (Camelus dromedarius L.). J Camel Pract Res 17: 1-7.

Knight CH, Dewhurst RJ, 1994. Once daily milking of dairy cows: Relationship between yield loss and cisternal milk storage. J Dairy Res 61: 441-449. PMid:7829749

Konuspayeva G, Faye B, Loiseau G, 2009. The composition of camel milk: A meta-analysis of the literature data. J Food Compos Anal 22: 95-101.

Labussière J, 1988. Review of physiological and anatomical factors influencing the milking ability of ewes and the organization of milking. Livest Prod Sci 18: 253-273.

McKusick BC, Thomas DL, Berger YM, Marnet PG, 2002. Effect of milking interval on alveolar versus cisternal milk accumulation and milk production and composition in dairy ewes. J Dairy Sci 85: 2197-2206.

Nagy N, Thomas S, Marko O, Juhasz J, 2013. Milk production, raw milk quality and fertility of dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) under intensive management. Acta Vet Hung 61:71-84. PMid:23439293

Ontsouka CE, Bruckmaier RM, Blum JW, 2003. Fractionized milk composition during removal of colostrums and mature milk. J Dairy Sci 86: 2005-2011.

Prasad RMV, Sudhakar K, Raghava Rao E, Ramesh Gupta B, Mahender M, 2010. Studies on the udder and teat morphology and their relationship with milk yield in Murrah buffaloes. Livest. Res. Rural Develop. 22:20. Available in [30 December 2012].

Rizzo A, Mutinati M, Minoia G, Pantaleo M, Sciorsci RL, 2012. The impact of oxytocin on the hemodynamic features of the milk vein in dairy cows: A color Doppler investigation. Res Vet Sci 93: 983-988. PMid:22370294

Rogers GW, Spenser SB, 1991. Relationships among udder and teat morphology and milking characteristics. J Dairy Sci 74: 4189-4194.

Salama AAK, Caja G, Such X, Peris S, Sorensen A, Knight CH, 2004. Changes in cisternal udder compartment induced by milking interval in dairy goats milked once- or twice-daily. J Dairy Sci 87: 1181-1187.

Salama AAK, Caja G, Such X, Casals R, Albanell E, 2005. Effect of pregnancy and extended lactation on milk production and udder compartments in dairy goats milked once daily. J Dairy Sci 88:3894-3904.

Salama OH, Caja G, El-Sayed H, El-Shafei MH, Salama AAK, Ayadi M, 2012. Proc 3th Int. Conf. of Camelid Research and Development, Muscat (Sultanate of Oman), 29 Jan-1 Feb. pp: 165-166.

Saoud A, Al-Motairy O, Hashimi SE, 1988. Camels in Saudi Arabia. Camel Newsletter 4: 13-16.

Thomas SCH, Svennersten-Sjaunja K, Bhosrekar MR, Bruckmaier RM, 2004. Mammary cisternal size, cisternal milk and milk ejection in Murrah buffaloes. J Dairy Res 71: 162-168. PMid:15190943

Wardeh MF, Al-Mustafa M, 1990. Camel breed types in the Arab countries North and West Africa. Proc Arab Symp of camel husbandry and diseases and methods of their control. Alger (Algeria), 24-26 March. pp: 105.

Wernery U, Juhasz J, Nagy P, 2004. Milk yield performance of dromedaries with an automatic bucket milking machine. J Camel Pract Res 11: 51-57.

Yagil R, Creveld CV, Abu-R'kaib G, Merin U, 1999. Milk let-down in camels. J Camel Pract Res 6: 27–29.

Zayeed AA, Magdub AB, Shareha AM, El-Sheikh A, Manzally M, 1991. Conf of camels in the Arab World. University of Omar El-Mukhtar, 1st edition [Arabic].Tripoli (Libya). pp: 115.

DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2013113-4060