The Camels of Lancaster County

Sounds like the title of an off-beat Amish fiction series, doesn’t it?

While these Camels of Lancaster County have not shown up in any novels I am aware of, they did make an appearance in the news article on Amish camel milk which we looked at last month.

I don’t expect Amish camel farming to become a new focus of interest here, but since we’ve already cracked open the can of milk, why not continue.

Today we have photos of bona fide Lancaster camels courtesy of reader Ed, who has just concluded a visit to the county.

Camels In Barn

Ed’s wife was able to count about six camels.  These two look curious.

White Amish Camel


Curious Camel

Ed: “This camel was separate from the others and appeared to be tied; perhaps it is a bull?”  Bull or no, I like the expression on this guy’s, or gal’s, face.  A touch of smug?  A little ambiguous.  Inviting, or asking for trouble?

Camel Barn Lancaster County


Smiling Camel

In this series of photos, we don’t see any camels outside the barn. Perhaps that is intentional, I wondered, to prevent tourists driving into the ditch out of shock.

On that point Ed shares the following, overheard from someone who seemed to know what she was talking about: “the camels must be kept in the barns due to the fact that they scare the buggy (and other) horses, causing them to shy or to flee in panic.”

Camel Morning

This camel is set up in a temporary shelter in a field near the barn.  To me, this looks like a shot from a commercial for camel coffee.  The best part of waking up…

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    1. Tom

      Ed & Erik thank you for sharing these photos. I think I would be very surprised if the next time I’m in Lancaster I rode by this place and saw camels.
      At least now I’m prepared in case I run across this place I hopefully wont drive in to the ditch.
      I will be in Lancaster August 24th & October 26th for Mud Sales. I will keep an eye out for camels.

    2. Debbie H

      I guess a lot of people would be shocked to see a camel in the field be it Amish or English. I love the expression on the tied up camels face.

    3. Linda


      Thank you for sharing! We get to the Lancaster area several times a year, and I can assure you, if we had seen a camel, we’d certainly be heading for a ditch! Amazing!

    4. Naomi Wilson

      …is camel milk in your cup?

    5. Jackie

      My Mom lives near there. She say’s she has seen the camels in the pasture. They are probably put up certain times a day like alot of dairy cows. Mostly morning and evening, Or around milking time.

      1. Interesting. You can also see camels out and crossing the road in the original article. I imagined they may need to be kept separated in some way. Horse people would know better but aren’t they capable of scaring easily around unfamiliar animals?

    6. SharonR

      The Camels of Lancaster Co

      HA – Leave it to the Amish to think of ways to make a living — ha — reminds me of some folks here in Florida got on the EMU craze, a few years back, and started buying Emu’s (and/or eggs)and started raising them — I guess they were selling their eggs and the meat is supposed to be very nutritional……whatever works!!

      OH — BYW — I think an Amish farmer in Pinecraft, FL, has a herd of water buffalo. Check with Sherry Gore (she has cookbooks and lives in Pinecraft), and I know she has mentioned them before, in her books! Never know these days what will show up in the pastures!
      Thanks, Erik

      1. Matt from CT

        Mozzarella cheese made from Water Buffalo milk is big business in Italy — they eat about $350 million dollars worth a year!

        I know there are folks trying to establish a buffalo mozzarella industry in the U.S. too. From what I’ve read there’s a bit of a learning curve going on since it’s not just water buffalo milk that’s needed, it’s getting the feed right so the milk is right and getting the right mix of bacteria to ferment it. Factors the French call “terroir.”

        Here’s two links on the above:

    7. Alice Mary

      Just dawned on me...

      …after seeing the look on the tied-up camel’s face. A LOOOOONG time ago (my childhood?) I remember TV ads for the candy bar company (Curtiss, at the time, I think) which featured a camel (close-up of its face) speaking the words, “I want a Clark Bar!” I KNEW there was some OTHER reason why these camels looked so familiar (starting with the camel milk posting)!

      Does anyone else remember those commercials? (I hope I’m not hallucinating, as I’m weaning myself off some powerful pain killers due to another herniated disc in my spine).

      Now I want a Clark Bar!

      Alice Mary

      1. City Slicker

        You are not alone — I remember the Clark Bar commercials, too. Never really liked the candy, but was intrigued by the camel’s rather British accent and careful enunciation.

        GEICO Insurance is running a TV ad in the NYC market (possibly elsewhere) with a camel strolling through an office asking people, “What’s today?”; everyone tries to ignore him, but finally one responds with the answer, of course, “It’s hump day”.

      2. Eli S.

        Don’t remember the Clark bar commercial, but I do recall another commercial saying “I’d walk a mile for a Camel.”

    8. SharonR

      Camels of Lancaster CO

      AHA!!!! I just googled Camels Milk, and there is good info, about the milk — it really has some “GOOD” benefits. INTERESTING!!!

    9. Don Curtis

      Camel Milking Family Tragedy

      Mark was just relating to me last evening about a former Amish family that has relatives in Belle Center. They milk about 40 camels. They just moved about six weeks ago to Luddington, Michigan. There was a pond out behind the house. Last Friday evening the two little boys, seven and nine didn’t come in for supper. Everybody went out looking for them. The dad and his brother, the boys’ uncle, found them submerged under the water in the pond. Both were gone. How sad. Funeral was Sunday with about 850 people present. They were buried, together, in the same casket. They played together, died together, and were buried together. Very touching. Please pray for this family.

      1. Alice Mary

        Don, what a tragedy! I will certainly pray for the family of those little boys.

        Let’s all be more aware of water & children, especially with weeks of summer left.

        Alice Mary

      2. OldKat

        What a tragedy

        This is a terrible thing to have happen in ANY family. I’ll certainly add them to my prayer list. Just now getting a chance to catch up with AA after being gone for almost a week. A hectic one at that. Took my wife, Donna, and my “girlfriend” Xena, the Daschund, to stay with our daughter who is recovering from a surgery. She had to have her tonsils removed yesterday. I understand that is harder on an adult than it is on a child.

        As we were preparing to leave last Sunday AM I received word that my only brother had passed away that morning. He had been diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer in December. He was 72 years and thirty minutes old when he was called home. Because of this we put off leaving until Tuesday and then it was rush, rush, rush after we got there.

        Made for a long day yesterday and a short night last night as we didn’t get her back to her house until late in the afternoon and then I had a about a 350 mile drive back home & another 65 miles back into the city this morning for the memorial service for my brother.

        I’m drained, but not so drained that I can’t pray for those impacted by the loss of these two youngsters. Sad, sad deal indeed.

        1. City Slicker

          Old Kat

          Our prayers are with you.

        2. Alice Mary

          OldKat, please accept my condolences on the passing of your only brother. I have lost my parents, all aunts & uncles & a few friends, but my two older sisters are still around, with me, thank goodness.

          I hope your daughter is doing well. Yes, it is harder on adults–my husband & son-in-law had their tonsillectomies in late teens-mid twenties (I had mine at age 6 1/2.)

          You & Donna need some R & R now.

          Alice Mary

        3. Don Curtis


          Dear OldKat

          My condolences and sympathies to you in the death of your brother. Of course, being 90, I have experienced the loss of many loved ones. Both of my parents are long gone. Both of my brothers. My wife. Two of my sons. It is never easy. But, with God’s help, we can get through it. I will pray for you.

        4. Lattice

          Sorry to hear of your loss. May you know the peace that passeth all understanding.

        5. OldKat

          Thank you all

          Thank you for the kind words of condolence. My brother was a one of a kind sort of a guy.

          At the memorial service his pastor said that he had known him for 12 years and one of the first things that he had noticed is that Allen ALWAYS had a sparkle or twinkle in his eye. That is true, he always did. Shortly before he lapsed into a coma his pastor finally asked him why he always had that twinkle in his eye. His answer? “Because I KNOW where I am going”.

          That is one of the best things I have ever heard at a funeral. That said he, like all of us, was not perfect. As open minded as he was about almost all matters of faith, he could not wrap his mind around why the Amish choose to live the lifestyle that they do. He could not see how they could associate not driving automobiles, for instance, with their faith life.

          So he referred to the Amish as being “weird”. Try as I might I could never convince him otherwise. This was really very unlike him, as he literally had friends from all around the world through his involvement in an international association of retired police officers. These were people of all races, nationalities and creeds. So he was certainly no bigot. For some reason he just couldn’t relate to the Amish.

          I’m okay with this though, because I am sure that if he would have ever actually come to know any of them he would have never been rude to them. Who knows … he might even have come to appreciate their unique take on Christianity, as I have.

          1. I appreciate you sharing this Oldkat, just catching up here after being out of town and mostly offline for the weekend. I know you have mentioned your brother a number of times. I am sorry for your loss. There are many things we can’t know but who knows, he may still have the chance to know Amish people. I am sure you will miss him greatly.

          2. SharonR

            Camels in Lancaster & OldKat's brother

            Sorry to hear of your loss, OldKat – it’s always sad to hear of our friends or relatives passing away, but hope the pleasant memories of his time on this earth, help to heal you, in this sad time.

    10. Bob Rosier (Bob the Quaker)

      We were out in the country in Lancaster County this past Spring and saw a camel walking back and forth along a fence line. Glad to know more about what we were seeing. Thanks for posting.

      We will look for them this coming October… I saw some tobacco growing nearby so I thought it was a mascot for Camel Cigarettes 🙂

      Not !

    11. Katrina

      Pregnant Camel?

      Maybe the tied camel was pregnant and getting close to delivery so they tied it to keep an eye on progress. Just an idea. I’m probably going to regret asking this, but exactly how does one tell male and female camels apart? Is it as obvious as dogs?

    12. Slightly-Handled-Order-Man

      Rather biblical, innit, the camel stuff.

      1. OldKat

        Good ol' SHOM

        Comes through with the humor I needed at just the right time! Thanks SHOM!

        1. Slightly-Handled-Order-Man

          You're welcome, OldKat

          OldKat: You’re welcome. I really did intend for the reply to be 99 percent serious, expecting at least a couple of replies about camels in the Bible, but I did take the “innit” part from the Church of Python [Monty] hymn book.

    13. Also in IN

      I first saw “Amish camels” at a farm in Middlebury, Indiana. Yes, we did take pictures. They were a lot of fun to watch.

      Thanks for the interesting post!


    14. Patty Tolliver

      The Camels of Lancaster county

      I was on vacation when this was posted. What a nice email to come back to. I have been keeping my sister up to date on the Camel Story. She found it quite interesting that there is a camel dairy farm.
      Thank you for sharing.