feral camels are actively conserving water. The
stress of capture causes sweating and further
moisture loss. Watering of the camels once captured
is highly desirable. This may be impossible in
portable yards however once the camels are
transported back to a fixed yard the camels must be
given access to water.
Average size camels drink 30 - 40 litres per
Camels which are dehydrated will engorge themselves
on reintroduction to water. Several short e.g. 5
minute, periods of access to water followed by a 30
minute rest, are recommended for the initial
drinking session. A camel will rehydrate in a few
hours following even severe dehydration.
Once the camels are rehydrated give them access to
low quality hay (oat, wheat or pasture) but
definitely not lucerne hay as it will cause bloat
in unadapted camels.
The use of patience and the use of rewards in
handling camels are effective principles.
All camels and particularly feral camels are quick
to learn good and bad behaviour and which
experiences to avoid. If camels are handled quietly
and with a minimum of fuss, within a couple of days
even feral camels will approach humans in the
Bulls which are fully in rut have no fear and thus
pose a particular danger to other camels and to
humans. Bulls in rut should not be held for the
abattoir trade and should be released from the
Walking through the freshly caught camels is
recommended as this has a quieting effect on the
camels and makes subsequent handling easier.
If camels are being held in yards it is highly
desirable to train camels to run through a race to
a bribe (e.g. hay) without handling them. This will
assist the loading process as the camels are then
used to being confined by the race.
Camels fed in yards need a diet high in bulk
i.e. a third of a bale of hay per camel per day.
They adapt to the gradual introduction of
supplements or pelleted foods to their diets.
Camels used to dry feed need gradual change to
fresh foods (fresh cut lucerne etc.) or bloat will
Feeding facilities should allow adequate access for
all camels and should be maintained in good repair
and in a clean condition. In the feral state camels
prefer plants high in salts. It is considered
essential to provide coarse salt or salt blocks to
fed camels. These blocks should be a soft type as
camels have softer tongues than cattle. Salt blocks
may include only low levels of urea.
Several of the plant species eaten by the camel are
digested in the small intestine. To mimic this
system in fed camels it is advisable to provide a
supplement that contains 'protected proteins', e.g.
meat meal, cotton seed meal. It has been found that
I 00 grams per day of protected proteins produces
weight gain in camels in poor condition.
Yards must be well drained with dry areas to permit
camels to sit down and rest away from the
A suitable method of permanent identification
of camels needs to be developed. Currently fire
branding presents the only practical method and
this is unacceptable on welfare grounds.
Temporary identification is achieved by the use of
eartags or, if identification is only for 2-3 days,
then paint can be used.
of Dogs or Electric Jiggers
The use of dogs to move feral camels through
yards and forcing pens is counterproductive as the
animals natural instinct is to turn and face
Electric jiggers must only be used sparingly on
feral camels and then only in loading races.
Overuse will cause undue distress and prompt a
stubborn response, i.e. overuse defeats the reason
for using them in the first place.
The use of a movable visual barrier (e.g. hessian)
assists transfer into smaller yards and forcing
pens. The barrier must be higher than the head of