Dairies are often in the news these days – but not necessarily for the right reasons. Q Camels dairy, however, is like no other dairy. For a start, it’s, well, camels and secondly (and possibly most importantly) it’s the only organic camel dairy in the world and completely ethical – but how about we hold that thought for a few minutes.
First, some fun facts about camels:
- They don’t spit but they can vomit if they’re feeling threatened. And yes, that is apparently as gross as it sounds.
- Camels are extremely intelligent, intuitive and emotional animals and live within a matriarchal society with information being passed down from grandmothers.
- Camels won’t milk unless they like their handler and do form close bonds with their handlers
- A camel will be pregnant for 12-14 months and can actually stop mid-labour and hang on for a few more weeks if they don’t feel that it’s the right time to deliver. That’s extreme leg crossing.
- The babies are born without humps. They won’t actually form their humps until they’re about 2 months old and beginning to eat solids.
Camel milk is super nutritious and has been found to have lots of gut-soothing properties and none of the nasty potential side-effects of cow or goat milk. Plenty of studies have been completed on the benefits of camel milk in relation to diabetes, autism, auto-immune diseases and more. If you’re interested, links to some of these studies are here.
The core belief at Q Camel is that “a happy camel produces happy milk” so not only are the animals loved and cared for at the highest of standards – and really, who could resist? – but they’re understood and respected. To this end, to build deep connections and trust with the camels, Q Camels employ fellow animal lovers rather than traditional farmhands.
- Allow the mothers to spend the first few months bonding with their babies – by this time the calf is on solids so the milk can be shared.
- No camel is forced to milk – they come to the dairy on free will and their baby comes too.
- The camels are pasture fed (supplemented with organic feed) and roam freely in the herd with their calf.
- They are free to wean when they chose to do so – this can be any time from 14 months to 2 years.
- There is a no-kill policy – bull calves, once weaned, are re-homed. There’s a waiting list for people wishing to have them – usually for land management purposes. As for older camels, once they finish milking, they simply retire and are kept within the herd.
- The camels aren’t branded or tagged – but they each have a name which they answer to.
- They are protected from wild dogs and other predators by a team of donkeys (yes, really) and mareema dogs. While the benefits of mareema dogs as herd protectors is (fairly) well-known, donkeys are now also being recognised as a viable method of wild dog patrol.
As for the camel cuddles? They’re just priceless. We absolutely fell in love with these beautiful, gentle animals.
Q Camels do farm tours on the first and third Saturday of each month (and at other times during the school holidays). While they don’t give out their address until you book, they’re located an hour north of Brisbane and 10 minutes from both Beerwah and Caloundra.
If you’re on the coast or just want a day trip from Brisbane, this is a must-do – especially if you love animals.
Check out their website here.
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