Livestock Research for Rural Development 22 (10) 2010 Notes to Authors LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

A note on the relationships between udder morphometric and milk yield of Lahween camel (Camelus dromedarius)

M O Eisa, I A Ishag* and A M Abu-Nikhaila**

Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Agriculture, Omdurman Islamic University,
P.O. Box 382 - Postal code 14415, Omdurman, Sudan
* Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Agriculture, Sinnar University
** Department of Dairy Production, Faculty of Animal Production - University of Khartoum-Sudan


Data were obtained on 16 camel (Arabi- lahwee) of different age and parity order, maintained at Al-Khalifa Agric. rain feed scheme in El-Showak (Eastern Sudan). The purpose of this study was to determine the udder morphometric of Lahween camel and to find out their correlation with daily milk yield.


The result of this study showed that milk yield was 2.7 1.4 liters/day. Udder depth, circumference, vertical semi circumference and size scored 16.9 2.5 cm; 91.4 10.0 cm; 52.0 5.6 cm. and 1559.5 388 cm3. , respectively and they were positively correlated with daily milk yield. While udder height at fore and rear quarters and udder levelness were 111 7.1 cm; 110 7.6 cm and 1.6 1.6 cm., respectively, and they were negatively correlated with daily milk yield. Length of fore and rear teats and distance between right teats and that between left teats were 4.3 1.4 cm; 4.4 1.5 cm; 3.1 1.8 cm and 3.0 1.5 cm, respectively and they were positive and significantly correlated with daily milk yield (P<0.05; r= 0.34, 0.36, 0.65 and 0.34, respectively). Milk vein length and diameter were 88.0 7.7 cm and 1.8 0.5 cm., respectively, and positively correlated with daily milk yield (P>0.05). Morphologic change in the measurements of udder depth, udder height, teat diameter and distances between teats before and after milking were statistically significant (P<0.01) and may indicate to greater milk secretion potential of Lahween camel.

Key words: circumference, depth, distance, height, lahween camel, milk vein, milk yield, size, teat, udder


The udder of the camel like that of cattle consists of four quarters, each with its own teat. A well developed mammary system comprises one of the major component of the dairy animal score card (Mishra et al 1978). Furthermore, dairy camels are characterized by the development of the udder and milk veins (Wardeh et al 1990), accordingly, well developed milk veins may reflect a greater milk secreting potential.  Zayeed et al (1991) demonstrated that, there was a great variation in udder and teat size and length in the camel, which may be attributed to variable factors including, camel type, lactation stage, parity number and disease. Studies on udder morphometry of camel are very scarce. The present study was initiated to find out udder morphometric of Lahween camel, with the ultimate goal to securing a valid indicator of their dairying potential.

Materials and methods 

Area and animals


The present study was conducted at Al-Khalefa Hawa Alnabi rain-fed mechanized scheme (30 km. North West of El-Showak).  Sixteen lactating camels of type Arabi-Lahawi with different parities, stage of lactation (3rd, 4th and 5th) and age were randomly selected from the village herd, they represented the typical features of the Arabi camel such as heavy weight, big hump, long neck, big head with long hair on the hump and shoulder and sandy grey or fawn color. For the purpose of this study, young calves are kept in isolation from dams and were allowed to their dam only at milking times, which was performed twice a day in the morning and the evening, since the presence of the calf is imperative for milk let-down in the camel.


Data collection


Daily milk yield


Daily milk yield was measured using 2 measuring cylinders, each of (500 ml). The part of the milk left for the young calves in the udder was not counted in the daily milk yield and therefore was not included in the calculations.


Udder measurements (Photos 1 to 4)
Photos 1 to 4.  Udder measurements

Each measurement in the present study was taken twice before and after milking and the average of the two reading was then adopted as the base of calculations.


Udder depth


In this study the udder depth was considered as the distance between the abdominal wall at the base of the udder and the base of the teat. Four such measurements (one for each teat) were taken and averaged to represent the depth of the udder.


Udder horizontal circumference


The widest horizontal circumference across the udder was taken as the udder circumference. It was measured by matching the tape to the surface distance of right half from the median suspensory ligament between the fore quarters extending along the right udder half till the median point between the rear quarters. The same procedure was done with the left half of the udder and the sum of the two readings was considered as the udder circumference.


Udder size


The size of the udder was estimated by multiplying it’s horizontal circumference with the udder depth (Maskovskaja  1967).


Udder vertical semi-circumference


The vertical semi-circumference of the udder was measured by the surface distance from the abdominal wall at the base of the udder on one side extending along the udder between the fore and rear teats till the abdominal wall on the other side of the udder.


Udder height


Defined as the distance from the ground to the base of the teats, and was measured as the distance from the ground to udder floor at the points directly in front of the fore and rear teats.


Udder levelness


Levelness of the udder floor was measured as the difference between the fore and rear udder heights.


Teat length


Teat length was measured as the distance between the base of the teat to the tip of the teat, by stretching the tape a long the teat.


Teat diameter


Teat diameter was measured with a vernier caliper at the middle point of the teat.


Distance between teats


It is defined as the distance between: a- Fore teats,  b- Rear teats, c- Right teats, d- Left teats, estimated by measuring the distance between every two teats from the middle point of the teats.


Milk vein length


The linear length of the milk vein was recorded by measuring the linear distance in straight line covered by the milk vein visible in front of the fore quarters up to the milk well where the vein entered in to the abdomen.


Milk vein diameter


It was measured with a vernier caliper.


Statistical analysis


The collected data was subjected to statistical analysis program (SPSS), to find out the mean and standard deviation of the udder morphometry. And to find out the pearsons correlation between udder, teats, milk vein measurements and daily milk yield. Paired T. test was used to find out the variation in udder measurements before and after milking.


Results and discussion  

The average daily milk yield is presented in (figure 1.)

Figure 1.  Daily milk yield, iters

The result indicated that maximum, minimum and average milk yield were 6.81, 0.96 and 2.73 liters/day, respectively. The actual milk secreted was higher than the recorded value in this study, because calves were freely joining their dams at milking time and no suckling preventing measure were adopted. Moreover, milk yield was calculated from only two milking frequency, with consideration that camel can be milked five time or more. The daily milk yield in the present study coincide with values reported by Mariam (1988); Bakheit (1999) and Salman (2002), who referred that, daily milk yield under nomadic husbandry varied from 1.4 to 5 liters. The three authoress practiced milking of 2 to 3 times/day. In the other hand (Rao 1974); (Al-Amin 1979) and (Knoess 1979) reported higher daily milk yield that ranging between 5 to 18 kg.


The data describing the udder measurements in (cm) are tabulated in table 1. It was evident from the data the udder depth value was 16.9 2.5 cm., and it was highly significant (P˂ 0.01) and positively correlated with daily milk yield (r=0.48). Similarly, the depth of the udder was reported to be highly correlated with milk yield in exotic cows as reported by the study of Mali et al (1983) and Saiyed and Patel (1989). Significant correlation between udder depth and milk yield was further confirmed by Akhtar and Thakuria (1998), in their study on Buffaloes. The udder circumference was 91.4 10.0 cm, it was positively correlated with daily milk yield (r= 0.46; P˂0.05 / close to highly significant).The data also revealed that udder vertical semi- circumference was 52.0 5.6 cm,(r= 0.37; P> 0.05 / close to significant). Udder size recorded 1559.5 388.3 cm, and it was highly significant and positively correlated with daily milk yield (r=0.49 ; P˂0.01)  which was in disagreement with  Maskovskaja (1967) and Bogatyreva (1970) who reported positive and insignificant correlation in their study on exotic dairy cows. Udder height at fore quarters, at rear quarters and udder levelness were 111 7.1, 110 7.6 and 1.6 1.6 cm, respectively and it were negatively correlated with daily milk yield (P>0.05) 

Table 1.  Udder measurements of Lahween camel and correlations with milk yield [r]

Udder Measurements, cm












Vertical semi circumference




Size, cm




Height at fore quarters




Height at rear quarters








*P˂0.05,  ** P˂0.01

Concerning the teats measurements, the data (Table 2) documented that length of fore and rear teats and distance between right teats and that between left teats were 4.3 1.4, 4.4 1.5, 3.1 1.8 and 3.0 1.5 cm, respectively. And they were positive and significantly (P˂0.05) correlated with daily milk yield (r= 0.34, 0.36, 0.65 and 0.34 respectively). While, diameter of fore and rear teats, distance between fore teats and that between rear teats were 2.1 0.7, 2.5 0.9, 13.1 2.5 and 10.0 1.7 cm, respectively. And they were positively but insignificant correlated with daily milk yield.

Table 2.  Teats Measurements of Lahween camel

Teat Measurements, cm




Fore teats length




Rear teats Length




Fore teats diameter




Rear teats diameter




Distance bet. Fore teats




Distance bet. Rear teats




Distance bet. Right teats




Distance bet. Left teats




sig. (P˂0.05), **sig. (P˂0.01)

The data describing the values of milk vein measurements are recorded in (Table 3.) Milk vein length and diameter were 88.0 7.7 and 1.8 0.5 cm, respectively. Non significant correlation was observed, accept the (r) value of milk vein diameter it was close to significant.

Table 3.  Milk vein measurements of Lahween camel

Measurements, cm












Table 4.  Udder measurements before and after milking

Measurement, cm



% increase



Udder depth





Udder circumference





Udder size, cm3





Teat length





Teat diameter





a,b means with different liter were significantly (P<0.01) different

The results on udder measurement monitored pre and post milking are presented in (Table 4.) the obtained values indicated a highly significant difference in all measured parameters (P < 0.01). The udder depth before milking was 16.9 0.11 cm, which declined to 15.9 0.11 cm post milking. The udder circumference was 91.4 0.69 cm prior to milking, and which declined to 85.30.69 cm after milking. The udder size too witnessed a sharp decrease, 1559.518.5 cm3 before milking compared to 1375.1 18.5 cm3 after completion of milking. The teat length and diameter also showed significant (P < 0.01) increase when compared before and after milking. The results showed that udder depth, circumference, and size increased by 6.3%, 7.2% and 13.4% during the pre-milking and post-milking, respectively. Similarly, the teat length and teat diameter increased by 12.8% and 15% when compared during pre and post-milking episodes. Significant (P < 0.01) change in the measurements before and after milking greater indication for its greatest milk secretion potential.


Despite the fact that the cited literature investigated udder, teat, milk vein measurements and milk yield in cattle not in camel as the present study, yet the difference of species in the present study and others in cattle does not jeopardize the value of the result. Udder depth, circumference, size and length of the teats are considered as external features on which selection of dairy cattle is based on, and its positive and significant correlation with daily milk yield is justified. The reason underlying why comparisons are cited with cows was the scarcity of such study on camel.


Conclusion and recommendation


Akhtar N and Thakuria K 1998 Milk production in relation to variation in size and shape of udder in swamp buffaloes. Indian Journal of Animal Science 68(12): 1281-1283.


Al-Amin F M 1979 The dromedary camel of the Sudan. In: camels IFS. Symposium, Sudan, pp. 35-53.


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Bogatyreva G A 1970 Mater  II Knof. Mold. Uchen. Genet. Razved. Sel- Khoz. Zhivot., Tom 1. VNII Razved. Genet. Sel- Khoz. Zhivot. Leningrad. P. 51, Animal  Breeding Abstract  1972,  40: 154


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Salman M 2002 Some husbandry aspects of camel in the Buttana area in Eastern Sudan. M.Sc. thesis, Faculty of Animal Production,. University of Khartoum, Sudan.


Wardeh M F and M Ould Al-Mustafa 1990 Camel breed types in the Arab countries North and West Africa. In: Arab symp. Camel Husbandry and diseases and methods of their control. March 24-26, 1990. Alger, Algeria. ACSAD/AS9/p 105/1990, Damascus.


Zayeed A A, Magdub A B, Shareha A M, El-Sheikh A and Manzally M 1991 Camels in the Arab World. University of Omar El-Mukhtar, Libya. 1st edition (Arabic).   

Received 27 January 2010; Accepted 15 September 2010; Published 1 October 2010

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