The nutritional and therapeutic properties of human, cattle, goat, sheep, camel and horse milk is well known. However, the goodness of donkey is not well known.
Milk is considered as a complete food. Therefore, all sources of milk are attracting extra attention as such milk could offer benefits that are not yet well-known.
Donkeys have mainly been used as pack and ride animals in developing economies.
In late nineteenth century donkey milk gained a new perspective as it was used in feeding orphaned children in France.
Before that, in the Roman age, the donkey milk was used for nutrition and skin care.
The increase in Cow’s Milk protein allergy among children has led to search for alternatives. Researchers in Italy established that infants can tolerate the donkey better.
This brings good news to infants experiencing Cow’s milk protein allergy as donkey’s milk can used until when cow’s milk can be taken without any allergic complications.
Donkey’s milk is also highly palatability. This is advantageous since at young age, kids are known to reject non-palatable foods.
Milking Dairy Donkeys
Milking of donkeys is unique compared cattle and other dairy animals. It therefore requires special mechanisms.
There are dairy donkey farms in Europe, mainly in Italy, France, Spain, and Belgium. There are also dairy donkeys farms in the Xinjiang and Shanxi provinces of China, sharing the largest donkey stock worldwide with Ethiopia and Pakistan.
Milking of donkeys must be carried out in hygienic conditions to ensure no contamination.
A dairy donkey yields 350 (1.5 glasses) to 850 (3.5 glasses) ml of milk. This is very little amount compared to the amount a dairy cow can produce.
Composition of Donkey Milk
Selling point of donkey milk
Donkey milk and its protein is scientifically shown to be palatable and not allergic to infants.
Salimei E and Fantuz F. (2012). Equid milk for human consumption. Animal. International Dairy Journal. 30: 130-142.