Livestock Research for Rural Development 27 (6) 2015 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Performance of she camels under traditional nomadic and semi-intensive management in Sudan

I M M Dowelmadina, I E M E l Zubeir1, O H M H Arabi2 and A D Abaker3

Department of Genetics and Animal Breeding, Faculty of Animal Production, University of Gezira, Sudan
camel2022@gmail.com
1 Department of Dairy Production, Faculty of Animal Production, University of Khartoum, Sudan
Ibtisammohamed@hotmail.com
2 Department of Basic Science, Faculty of Animal Production, University of Gezira, Sudan
3 Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medical laboratory, University of Gezira, Sudan

Abstract

In Sudan, the four camel management systems include traditional nomadic system, transhumance or semi-nomadic system, sedentary or semi-sedentary system and the intensive system. This study investigates the influence of production systems, breeding goals, management practices and reproduction performance and  milk yield, herd size and herd composition of she camels reared within two different production systems: The first was the dominant traditional nomadic system at Sennar State (Nefidia camel type) and Gezira State (Butana camel type). The second was the newly developed semi-intensive system at Khartoum State (Kenana, Anafi and Bishari types).

 

The breeding goal of camels for milk production in Khartoum State (semi-intensive) ranked first (74.3%), while 51.4% of the interviewees improved their camels for racing in El Butana, Gezira State (traditional system).The camel owners in Sennar State (traditional system), improved their camels for milk and meat production (37.1%). However keeping camels either for meat or milk and meat revealed 40% for each in Khartoum State. The colostrum period in the two systems is controversial, according to the responders, in Khartoum State, they mentioned that the colostrum period is 7 days and those in Sennar and Gezira states, reported 5 and 4 days for colostrum period, respectively. The milk yield was significantly (P<0.05) affected by production systems and types of camel as the overall mean in the semi-intensive system was 3.490.89 L/day compared to that reported in traditional nomadic system (2.730.65 L/day and 3.301.12 L/day for Butana camels and Nefidia camels, respectively). Moreover camel herders in semi-intensive system practiced three times milking per day, whereas in nomadic system they adopted two times milking per day. The average ages at first calving (4.940.74 years) and calving intervals (22.01.47 months) were significantly (P<0.05) influenced by regions of camel rearing. The herd size under semi-intensive system was significantly (P<0.05) smaller than that kept under the nomadic systems (61.540.1 vs 132.5117.6 and 71.334.3).

Key words: camel, production systems, herd structure, milk yield, Sudan


Introduction

The increasing human population and declining per capita production of food in Africa precipitated an urgent need to optimize utilization of the rangelands through appropriate livestock production systems among which camel production is certainly the most suitable (Schwartz 1992). Camels contribute significantly to the livelihood of pastoralists and agro-pastoralists living in the fragile environments of the deserts and semi desert of Asia and Africa (Tura et al 2010 and Simenew et al 2013). The camel population in Sudan was estimated to be 4.623 millions heads (Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries 2011). In Sudan, four camel management systems were identified. These systems are: Traditional nomadic system (Shuiep et al 2008; Ishag and Ahmed 2011; Dowelmadina et al 2014; Shuiep et al 2014a); Transhumance or semi-nomadic system (Musa et al 2006a; Eisa and Mustafa 2011); Sedentary or semi-sedentary system (Ishag and Ahmed 2011; Shuiep and El Zubeir, 2012) and the Intensive system (El Zubier and Nour 2006; Eisa and Mustafa 2011; Dowelmadina et al 2014). El Zubier and Nour (2006) described camel husbandry and practices in the peri-urban area of Khartoum State. Kamoun and Jemmali (2012) reported that the milk yield of camel varies greatly depending on the region. There are variations in milk yield due to breed or types (Wernery et al 2004), stage of lactation (Musa et al 2006b; Raziq et al 2008; Al-Saiady et al 2012); parity numbers (Al-Saiady et al 2012) and the production systems (Musa et al 2006b; Bakheit et al 2008; Babiker and El Zubeir 2014). Shuiep et al (2014b) reported herd sizes in Kordofan and Khartoum as 2311.10 and 8.64.42, respectively. Babiker and El Zubeir (2014) reported the daily milk yield of she camels as 40-60, 40-80 and 50 litters/day in the intensive system, semi-intensive system and grazing + supplement system, respectively.

 

Ishag and Ahmed (2011) reported that the average camel herd size was 75.3 heads, the highest camel herd size being found in Gedaref State followed by North Kordofan, then Sennar State; the smallest camel herd size was recorded in Gezira State.  In a herd size of 70 head of camels, analysis of herd composition in Somalia showed that male calves were 10.6%, female calves were 9.4%, immature males were 5.9%, immature females were 17.6%, mature males were 9.4%, and 47.1% were mature females (Elmi, 1989). The present study was carried out in three regions of camel breeding in central Sudan (Gezira and Sennar) and Khartoum, with the objective of clarifying the conditions of production systems and to identify breeding goals, reproductive performance, management practices, herd size, herd structure and milk yield.


Materials and methods

Questionnaire

 

The survey was conducted through structural questionnaire and guided interviews with camel owners to collect information from the regions of the camel habitat (15 from two production systems; in three different States in central Sudan (Sennar State, Gezira State and Khartoum State. A questionnaire was designed to collect information from nomadic systems and semi-intensive system in Sudan. The data include general socioeconomic status of camel owners, herd management, breeding practices, production goals, herd size and structure of herds, milking procedure and milk yield. The study was conducted during July 2013 to August 2013.

 

Study areas

 

This study was carried out in three different areas in central Sudan (Sennar State; Moya Mountain, and Gezira State; Al Neb; Al Butana) and Khartoum State. In this study, three states were selected: traditional nomadic system in Gezira State (El Butana – Al Neb), traditional nomadic systems in Sennar State (Moya Mountain – Dar El Salam) and semi-intensive system in Khartoum State (Khartoum North locality; Bahari and Eastern Nile locality). The types of camels reared in Sennar State was Nefidi camel, in Gezira State was Butana camel  and in Khartoum State were Kenani, Anafi and Bishari camels. The locations included in this study are shown in photo 1.

 

Statistical analysis

 

The data were analysed by using descriptive statistics procedure in SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) software version 15. The differences between means were separated by Duncan’s Multiple Range Test (DMRT).

Photo 1: The areas and locations of the camels studied

 Location 1: Khartoum North (Khartoum State),
Location 2: El Butana (Gezira State),
Location 3: Moya Mountains (Sennar State)


Results and discussion

The goals of breeding camels were as shown in Figure 1. The goals of keeping camels for milk production (74.3%) ranked first among the respondents in Khartoum State, followed by breeding for racing (51.4%) in Gezira State. Keeping camels for meat and for milk and meat were about 40%, each in Khartoum State. Some of camel owners in Gezira State (El Butana) (34.3) improved their camels for meat. The Arabi camel has a wide geographic distribution in Sudan, which is due to its good performance for milk and meat production. However in Sennar State 37.1% of interviewees improved their camels for milk and meat production, but only 14.3% of camels are kept for racing. Significant differences (P<0.05) were recorded between respondents of surveyed regions for goal of camels breeding. Similarly Ishag (2009) reported that all camel owners reared under four states have plans to improve their camels.

Figure  1: Goals of camel breeding under semi-intensive (Khartoum State) and traditional systems (Gezira State and Sennar State)

The sources of breeding camels under semi-intensive and traditional systems are presented in Figure 2. The results revealed that about 24.4% of camel owners reported that the source of breeding camels was their own herds, 20% stated that the breeding bull (fahal) was from another herd and 3.81% purchased the breeding camel from the market (P>0.05).

 

The results indicated that about 37% of camels’ owners reported that the source of breeding camels was from their own herd managed in Gezira and Sennar states, while only 26% of camels’ owners in Khartoum State reported they use camel bulls from their own herds. This may be due to the purpose of the breeding camels, which is mainly for commercial purposes (Shuiep and El Zubeir, 2012). Also there is a slight different between Gezira and Sennar states regarding the source of breeding camels; using a camel bull from other herds represent 24.7, 27.6 and 47.7% in camels reared in Gezira, Sennar and Khartoum, respectively. All camel owners purchased the replacement breeding camels from the market. However Ishag and Ahmed (2011) found that camels reared under different states of Sudan revealed an overall means of 82.5%, 3.1% and 14.4% for the owners who used their own herds, other herds and purchased herds, respectively. Simenew et al (2013) in Afar camel (Ethiopia) found that the source of breeding camels was by own nomadic herd represent 76.4%.

Figure 2: Sources of breeding camels under semi-intensive and traditional systems in Sudan

The means for daily milk yield of the she camels kept in the semi-intensive, traditional nomadic (Moya) and traditional nomadic (Butana) systems were 3.490.89, 3.301.12 and 2.730.65 L, respectively (Table 1). The means for the daily milk yield of the camels reared under semi-intensive system and traditional nomadic system (Moya Mountain) were significantly (P<0.05) higher than those reared under traditional nomadic system of Butana (Table 1). Similarly Bakheit et al (2008) found that camels raised under semi-intensive management were able to produce significantly more milk than those reared under traditional system. The average milk yield in litters per day of Afar camel from the beginning to the end of lactation were 7.622.53 and 3.001.29 litters, respectively (Simenew et al 2013). This could be attributed to the forage availability and the supplementary diets, water availability and health care that oriented to the camels in the semi intensive system in Khartoum State (Babiker and El Zubeir 2014). Photo 2 showed Arabi camels offered supplementary feed. The estimated mean daily milk yield during the stage of lactation in this study was similar to that reported by Mehari et al (2007) for Babilie camels.

 

Moreover, the camels reared at Moya Mountain enjoy the good pasture (Photo 3) in addition to the irrigated crop residues after harvest and availability of the water as was documented by Dowelmadina et al (2014). Moreover they added that the performance of she camels at traditional nomadic system was better in comparison to the semi-intensive in the gross chemical composition. However in Sudan, camels are mainly reared in the traditional nomadic systems as shown in Photo 4, the Arabi camels reared together with other animals and this was reported previously (Musa et al 2006; El Zubeir and Nour 2006).

Table 1: Reproduction performance of she camels reared under semi-intensive and traditional nomadic systems in Sudan.

Measurements

Semi-intensive system

Traditional nomadic system (Butana)

Traditional nomadic system (Moya)

No. of Milking/day

Three times

Two times

Two times

System of feeding

At farm

Natural pasture

Natural pasture

Culling practices

Disease, age

Production problem, age

Production problem, age

Milking procedure

In the presence of calf

In the presence or absence (Elbow) of calf

In the presence or absence (Elbow) of calf

Calf rearing

At small groups

With she-camel

With she-camel

Mating system

Natural system

Natural system

Natural system

Ages at first calving (years)

4.34b0.73

5.32a0.45

5.16a1.03

Calving intervals (months)

19.09b1.76

25.01a0.00

21.90a2.66

Camel breeds

Kenana

Butana

Nefidia

a,b means with the same letters were insignificantly (P<0.05) different.

Colostrum period of she camels; according to the interviewers; is controversial in different management systems in Sudan. The results showed that the colostrum period in she camel reared in Khartoum, Sennar and Gezira states was reported as 7, 5 and 4 days, respectively. Similarly Dowelmadina and Abu Nekhaila (2013) found that the colostral period is 5 days postpartum and Babiker and El Zubeir (2014) reported that the colostrum period of she camel managed under intensive and semi-intensive systems are 7 days. Lactation period was reported as 18, 15 and 14 months/lactation for the she camels in semi-intensive, traditional nomadic (Moya) and traditional nomadic (Butana) systems, respectively (Figure 3). However, Musaad et al (2013) found that the overall mean for the lactation length for she camels kept in the intensive system was 12.5 months and the values differed according to season of calving. The lactation length in this study is in agreement with the pervious findings of Farah (1996) and that reported by Babiker and El Zubeir (2014) who reported a lactation length of 9 to 18 months.

 

The milking frequency in the present study was found to range between 2-3 times per day. This finding supported the finding of Mehari et al (2007). The results revealed that the ages at first calving (years) and calving intervals (months) were significantly (P<0.05) influenced by regions of camel rearing and camel breeds. The results showed that the average age at first calving of she camels were 4.940.74 years. Significantly (P<0.05) lower ages at first calving were found for camels reared in Khartoum State (Kenani camels; 4.340.73 years) and Sennar State (Nefidia camels; 5.161.03 years), while significantly (P<0.05) higher ages at first calving were recorded for camels in Gezira State (Butana camels). Similarly Simenew et al (2013) reported that the mean of age at first calving was 5.360.74 years and range from 4-8 years in Afar camel (Ethiopia) according to management systems. They also found that the calving intervals between Afar camels were 2.61.4 years. Ishag and Ahmed (2011) reported that the average of ages at first calving and calving interval (4.870.79 years and 23.092.20 months, respectively) under different management systems.

Figure 3: Comparison of olostrum and  lactation length and milk yield of she camels reared in Semi-intesive and nomadic production systems in Sudan

The milking practices in semi-intensive and nomadic systems are presented in Table 1. Camel herders in semi-intensive system practiced three times milking per day, whereas in nomadic system adopted two times milking per day. Similarly Shuiep et al  (2014a) found that the milking practices in semi-intensive system was two times milking per day and in the nomadic system, the herders adopted two times milking per day. However, Babiker and El Zubeir (2014) reported that camel herders in the selected farms are using hired labor for milking, which was done three times per day at intensive system and twice per day for semi-intensive system.

Table 2: Comparison of herd size and herd structure of camels reared under semi-intensive and the traditional nomadic systems

Measurements

Semi-intensive system

(Khartoum)

Traditional nomadic system

Traditional nomadic system

Camel types

Kenana, Anafi, Bishari

Butana

Nefidia

Herd size

61.540.10

132.50117.60

71.334.30

Number of females

32.21%

38.01%

30.10%

Number of lactating  females

19.72%

13.37%

18.30%

Number of calves

28.18

12.63%

14.80%

Number of  mature males

1.41%

14.64%

13.60%

No. of dry she camels

7.04%

9.48%

13.00%

No. of pregnant she camels

8.45%

11.87%

14.50%

Rearing other Animals

Cows, goats, sheep, chickens and horses

Goats and sheep

Cows, goats and sheep

The herd size and structures in both management systems were shown in Table 2. Herd size under semi-intensive system was significantly (P<0.05) smaller than that kept under the nomadic systems (61.540.1 vs 132.5117.6). The minimum and maximum herd sizes in the semi-intensive system were 10 and 71 head, respectively; whereas, those under nomadic systems were found as 20 and 210 head, respectively. Variations in herd structures and composition were reported in the different management systems practiced in Khartoum State (Babiker and El Zubeir, 2014). Moreover Shuiep et al (2014b) reported that the herd size and structure of camels were different according to the main objectives of breeding camels in Sudan; usually; and always the camel herd was managed or herded by two persons, the oldest one called (Alrayes or Kalifa) who is the main herder, while, the youngest one called (Angeeb) who is an assistant.

 

The differences in camel herd size and herd structure are probably a reflection of the differences between regions in the availability of feed and water. They may also reflect the degree of development of local markets and the extent to which camel production has developed into an economic venture rather than a way of life (Shuiep et al 2014b).

 Photo 2: Arabi Kenani reared under semi-intensive system in Khartoum State

Photo 3: Arabi Nefidia camel graze under natural pasture in Sennar State

Photo 4: Arabi Butana camel breed reared under nomadic system in Gezira State


Conclusion


Acknowledgement

We would like to acknowledge the financial support provided by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Sudan. Thanks are also extended to the camel herders who participated in this study.


References

Al-Saiady M Y, Mogawer H H, Faye B, Al-Mutairi S E, Bengoumi Mussad M and Gar-Elnaby 2012 Some factors affecting dairy she-camel performance. Emir Journal of Food and Agriculture, 24: 85-91.

Babiker W I A and El Zubeir I E M 2014 Impact of Husbandry, stages of lactation and parity number on yield and chemical composition of dromedary camel milk. Emir Journal of Food and Agriculture, 26: 333-341.

Bakheit S A, Majid M and Abu-Nikhila A M 2008 Camels (Camelus dromedarius) under pastoral systems in North Kordofan, Sudan: Seasonal and parity effects on milk composition. Journal of Camelid Science, 1: 32-36.

Dowelmadina I M M and Abu-Nikhila A M 2013 A preliminary assessment of camel (Camelus dromedarius) colostrum during colostral period. Proceedings of International Camel Conference “Sustainability of Camel Populations and Production” Saudi Arabi, King Faisal University, 17-20th March, 2013.

Dowelmadina I M M, El Zubeir I E M, Salim A D A and Arabi O H M H 2014 Influence of some factors on composition of dromedary camel milk in Sudan. Global Journal of Animal Scientific Research, 2: 120-129.

Eisa M O and Mustafa A B 2011 Production systems and dairy production of Sudan camel (Camelus dromedarius): A review. Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research,7: 132-135.

El Zubeir I E M and Nour E M 2006 Studies on some management practices in pre-urban areas of Khartoum State, Sudan. International Journal of Dairy Science, 1: 104-112.

El-Amin E B, El Owni O A O and El Zubier I E M 2006 Effect of parity number, lactation stage on camel milk composition in Khartoum State, Sudan. Proceedings of the International Scientific Conference on Camel, Part IV: 2173-2183. Qassim University, Saudia Arabia, 9-11.

Elmi A A 1989 Camel husbandry and management by ceeldheer pastoralists in central Somalia. Ph.D. Thesis, Somalia National University, Somalia.

Farah Z 1996 Camel milk properties (SKAT). Swiss federal institute of technology ETH-Zentrum, LFO, CH-8092 Zurich. Page 67.

Ishag I A M 2009 Production System, Phenotypic and Molecular Characterization  of Sudanese camel (Camelus dromedarius). Ph.D. Thesis, University of Khartoum, Sudan.

Ishag I A M and Ahmed M-K A 2011 Characterization of production system of Sudanese camel breeds. Livestock Research for Rural Development, 23: 3. Available at: http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd23/3/isha23056.htm

Kamoun M and Jemmali B 2012 Milk yield and characteristics of Tunisian camel.  Journal of  Animal Science, 1: 12-13.

Mehari Y, Mekuriaw Z and Gebru G 2007 Potential of camel production in Babilie and Kebribeyah woredas of the Jijiga Zone, Somali Region, Ethiopia. Livestock Research for Rural Development, 19 (4). Available at: http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd19/4/meha19058.htm

Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries (MARF) 2011 Department of Statistic in formation, Khartoum, Sudan. Statistical Bulletin for Animal Resources-issue, 20: 3-4.

Musa H H, Shueip E S and El Zubeir I E M 2006a Camel husbandry among pastoralists in Darfur, western Sudan. Nomadic Peoples, 10: 101-104.

Musa H H, Shueip E S and El Zubeir I E M 2006b Some reproductive and productive traits of camel (Camelus dromedarius) in Western Sudan. Journal of Animal Veterinary Advance, 5: 590-592.

Musaad A, Faye B and Abu Nikhela A 2013 Lactation curves of dairy camels in an intensive system. Tropical Animal Health Protection, 45: 1039-1046.

Schwartz H J and Dioli M 1992 The one-humped camels (Camelus dromedarius) in Eastern Africa: A pictorial guide to diseases, health care and management. Verlag Josef, Scientific books D-6992 Weikersheim Federal Republic of Germany.

Shuiep E S, and El Zubeir I E M 2012 The semi intensive camel farming a newly adopted system in Sudan. ISOCARD International Conference. Sultanate of Oman, 29thJanuary–1th February 2012, 3: 167-169.

Shuiep E S, El Zubeir I E M and Yousif I A 2014a Compositional quality of camel  milk and Some husbandry practices associated with camel milk production in two production systems in Sudan. SUST Journal of Agriculture Veterinary Sciences, 15: 10-18.

Shuiep E S, El Zubeir I E M and Yousif I A 2014b Socioeconomic aspects of rearing camels under two production systems in Sudan. Livestock Research for Rural Development, 26 (11): Available at ile:///E:/Docoment/Publication/Socioeconomic aspects of rearing camels under two production systems in Sudan.htm

Shuiep E S, El Zubeir I E M, El Owni O A O and Musa H H 2008 Influence of season and management on composition of raw camel (Camelus dromedarius) milk in Khartoum State, Sudan. Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems, 8: 101-106.

Simenew K, Dejen T, Tesfaye S, Fekadu R, Tesfu K and Fufa D 2013 Characterization of camel production system in Afar pastoralists, North East Ethiopia. Asian Journal of Agriculture Science, 5: 16-24.

Tura I, Kuria G, Walaga H and Lesuper J 2010 Camel breeding management among the Somali, Sakuye,Gabbra and Rendille pastoralists of North Kenya. Kenya Agricultural Research Instsitute, Troprntag, September 14-16, 2010, Zurich, Kenya.

Wernery U,  Juhasz J and Nagy P 2004 Milk yield performance of dromedaries with automatic bucket milking machine. Journal of Camel Practices and Research, 11:51-57.


Received 22 February 2015; Accepted 19 April 2015; Published 3 June 2015

Go to top