Amish Now Milking Camels

It seems Amish will milk just about anything there is a market for.  Lately I’ve even been hearing whisperings of Amish milking camels.  Well, why not.  So I wasn’t at all surprised yesterday to find an article on a Lancaster Amish camel dairy:

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — Let’s get the obvious questions about camel’s milk out of the way first.

It tastes like skim milk, just a wee bit saltier.

And with regard to how you milk a camel: Very carefully, it turns out.

Camel’s milk has arrived in Lancaster County, courtesy of Little Bit, Twila and their herd, who can be seen grazing placidly in a pasture on an Amish farm in Upper Leacock Township.

Amish Camel Milk
“You humans will drink anything”

A local Amish organic cooperative is operating a camel dairy here, milking the long-legged, one-humped animals twice a day.

Miller’s Organic Farm ships the milk all over the United States and even into Canada, for $10 a pint. It has about 100 customers who regularly buy camel’s milk.

Miller’s is one of about a half a dozen camel dairies in the nation, operating in states including Missouri, Michigan and Indiana. Like Miller’s, many of the dairies are operated by Plain Sect farmers.

Riding camels is probably easier than milking them, from how it sounds:

The animals can be a bit choosy and a bit stingy with their milk, says a Miller’s employee, Ben Stoltzfus.

Camels only can be milked while they are nursing a baby and they only will give up so much of their milk in a session, he says.

“A camel will allow milk to be withdrawn from their udder for only 90 seconds,” he says. “They have like a spigot on their udder, and if they choose not to give milk there is really not much we can do.”

So how does an ice cold glass of camel milk sound?

Camel photo: RaeAllen/flickr

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    1. Lattice

      I am dumbfounded!

    2. Sally Welch

      Would like to watch

      I would like to watch the milking session. A glass of milk? No, thank you! Interesting article!

    3. OldKat

      Hump day

      After you have been milking the camels all week long it brings a whole new meaning to “hump day”, huh?

      1. Helen Tiernan

        I suppose any animal with an udder can be milked. Not sure about drinking camel’s milk but I regularly drink goat’s milk. I say, fair play to them. If there’s a market in it then why not?

    4. Randy Adams

      Camel's Milk

      Think I’ll stick with Elsie the Cow’s milk.

    5. Erin

      I’ll pass! Interesting, nonetheless.

    6. Debbie H

      Humans will drink any milk but human milk. Go figure.
      I drink no animals milk myself and the thought of drinking any animals milk is disgusting. Yek!!!

    7. Sandra Kathleen

      What a hoot! 😀

      Have you heard of the confectionery in London that sells ice cream …made from human breast milk?! Quite true — it’s called Baby Gaga ice cream….maybe that’s “Oh, Baby…gag me!”

    8. Sure I would drink camel’s milk. I drink milk from a cow or a goat and would consider trying sheep’s milk so why not? I have had breastmilk as a young child (until 20 months) and I have tried a drop or two from my fingers when breastfeeding my daughter. I really do not see human milk as yucky.

    9. Katrina

      Camel Milk and A Question

      The article says the camel’s milk is shipped all over the U.S. A few years ago, an Amish dairy farmer got in trouble with the Feds for selling cow’s milk across state lines( some sort of ridiculous prohibition on doing that). So why is camel’s milk permitted to be sold in the same way?

    10. KimH

      Oh boy.. Not for me, thank you! Im not a milk drinker.. I use it in cooking occasionally but I’ll probably only drink one 8 oz glass of milk in a year..

      I’d love to see them milk them. I think it would be fun to watch. My grandparents had a dairy when I was a kid & I used to love to hang out at the dairy barn and watch the cows getting milksd. 😀

    11. Alice Mary

      Now you got me thinking…there was (not sure if it still exists) a llama farm a few miles up the road about 10 years ago. Does anyone know if there’s a market for llama milk? Or what IT tastes like?

      I’ve heard it mentioned that goat’s milk is good for colicky babies (my month old granddaughter is colicky, unfortunately). Does anyone have experience with it?

      I’m guessing camel milk is GREAT for camel babies, but I’ll stick with cow’s milk (I drank milk at every meal through my 20’s, into my early 30’s).

      OldKat, you crack me up! Yes, EVERY day is “hump day” at a camel dairy!

      Alice Mary

      1. Good question Katrina, the article does not address that.

        This dairy has around 100 customers around the country, the article says. They are buying it for health reasons…from the article:

        Most of the customers who buy camel’s milk are parents of children with autism. Miller’s has sent the milk to a school for autistic children in Vancouver, Canada, as well as parents in California and other states.

        Customers have told Stoltzfus they have noticed an improvement in their autistic child’s vocabulary due to the milk, and others have said the milk has helped with diabetes.

        But he is hesitant to say the milk has curative properties.

        “I’m not a doctor,” Stoltzfus says. “I don’t want to make any false claims.”

        1. Katrina

          Ok ERik- now you really have aroused my curiousity!!!! I’m going to search the web for camel’s milk and autism and see what’s being reported. I have family members with autism and the school I teach at has an autism program, as do many other schools.

          1. About half the article is about that aspect of it Katrina, so you might want to check that out too.

            With 100 customers at $10/pint, this seems like it could be a pretty good business, depending how often they are ordering the milk…and depending how much patience you have for camels.

            I wonder how much this article will be worth to the business…will it double their customer base? Triple it?

    12. Deb

      There are camels in Indiana also. A farm located between Shipshewana and Middlebury right alongside the Pumpkinvine Bike Trail, has about 6-8 of them. One time 2 females were right up alongside the trail(on the otherside of the fence of course) & we got great photos!

      1. Marybeth

        Deb I’m going to have to see if I can find these camels by the bike trail….. I live right at the bike trail crosses 900w in Shipshewana…..didn’t know there were camels so close.

        1. Katrina

          Marybeth-Have you ever been to the

          animal sanctuary near Albion? I was there a few years ago. They have all kinds of animals retired from circuses and those wild animals that people were keeping as “pets”- including the lion that was being kept in an NYC apartment. I believe it was called “Black Pines Animal Sanctuary”. They have a website, too.

          After my original post, I thought of another question. I womder if camel’s milk can be used in baking? If so, would there be a taste difference in the baked product? Don’t mean to gross anyone out, but I think out of the box a lot.

    13. Michigan Mary


      If it weren’t July 16th, I’d swear you were pulling an April 1st joke on us! I’ll stick with bovine beverages, thanks!

      1. Michigan Mary I almost started this post with an April Fool’s reference.

        I’m somehow not surprised there are Amish involved in this. It’s funny how Amish are described sometimes as bound by tradition yet they seem to get into these unconventional markets in business.

    14. Dali Castillo

      Milk please.

      Wow! I had no clue.

    15. e. Snoke

      Other unique animals Amish have

      I would like to see an article on Amish and llamas/vicunas. Somewhere I read that there were Amish who had such animals–especially the llamas that are very easy to raise/keep (they do their doo-doo droppings in just one place, I read). Anyway llama fur is supposedly great for yarns. ??????????????

      How many Amish keep goats as against dairy herd of cows?

      1. If you’re asking about large numbers of goats, not many compared to dairy herds. Some may have a goat or two hanging around to keep the grass trimmed though 🙂

        An Amish fellow I met in Indiana years ago sold goat meat (mainly I believe to Latino, as well as Muslim customers, who use it in their respective cuisines), but that would be a niche business.

    16. Slightly-Handled-Order-Man

      cows vs.,

      Goat’s milk is apparently a good alternative to cows milk. I’ve heard of people drinking it, I suppose depending on which culture you might hail from, goat milk might be more common, because there are places where cows can’t be kept

    17. Deb

      Marybeth You are really closeby. I think I remember seeing the Cheese Haus in the distance off to the south. They are definitely closer to Shipshewana than Middlebury, on the south side of the trail. I just looked at Google Earth and maybe the farm is on 1100W. It looks like the right area.

    18. Kate H.

      Camels in upstate PA, too

      An Amish family near Turbotville PA has milked camels for about two years. There have been a few auto accidents on the road in front of that farm, as motorists catch sight of the camels and crane backward to take a second look.

    19. Annette

      People all over the world have drunk camel’s milk and yak’s milk for as long as we’ve been able to domesticate them.

      Doesn’t mean I’d necessarily want to drink them for that reason, of course. However, I _would_ if I had the chance 🙂

    20. Sandra Kathleen

      I drink goat’s milk fairly regularly — about 1 qt/wk or so. According to what I’ve read, if it’s collected “correctly” in a stainless bowl set in an ice bath, it won’t have a “gamey” taste. I figure (maybe erroneously) that the goats are exposed to fewer hormones or antibiotics so that makes the milk a bit more “organic.” (Hope my bubble doesn’t get popped!)

      From what I know, goat’s milk is more easily digestible because the fat globules are smaller…it contains more medium chain triglycerides. Also, goat’s milk has considerably less lactose in it than cow’s milk. Neither human milk or goat’s milk has the alpha S1 casein protein found in cow’s milk…the protein that is an allergen to so many.

      1. OldKat

        Thanks Sandra

        When I was in high school, which was, ahhh … MANY years ago there was a girl that was two years behind me in school, and whose family had a fairly large herd of milking goats.

        Can’t recall the breed, but they had a bunch of them. One time our high school Vo. Ag. teacher took us out to their place for a field trip and her dad was talking about how people that couldn’t drink cows milk could drink goats milk. I never bothered to look up why this is so, but now I know! You know, you can learn the darndest things on Amish America!

      2. Helen Tiernan

        Thanks for that Sandra, I’ve often wondered why I was intolerant to cows’ milk but not goats’. I take lactase capsules for when I’m out and about or around friends’ homes so that I can eat/drink without causing any fuss.
        After reading all these comments I really want to try camels’ milk. My father came from Egypt so I suppose some of my ancestors would have drunk it at some stage.
        Yes, OldKat, you do learn the darndest things on Amish America. One of my favourite internet sites 🙂

        1. Sandra Kathleen

          I haven’t seen a baby formula made from goats’ milk, but I think it would be a real boon!

    21. Andrea green

      Well what can i say !! Guess they drink it in the dessert, Nomads i mean , but you learn something new everyday :-).

    22. James

      I have never understood how somebody would gladly drink the milk of one non-human species, but be disgusted at the thought of drinking the milk of another.

      1. When you put it that way…if we think too long about it, cow milk might not seem so tasty anymore 😉

        Milk comes from the dairy section of the store, after all, all the steps before that shouldn’t be pondered too long 🙂

    23. Lamar

      Adds a whole new meaning to “hump day.” Sorry I couldn’t resist.

    24. Beverly Hines

      Camel milk

      BEen drinking camel milk for two months. ITs good. PLease check out Dr. MIllie Hinkle N.D. she is responsible for getting approval from the Feds to sell camel milk in the USA. IT is doing wonders for autistic kids. IT high in iron and will stabilize blood sugar. I purchase mine frozen from Desert Farms in California. BEen trying to find some closer. AS an RN I have found my blood pressure is better. cholesterol is lower. do the research and decide for yourself