camels
 
Camels grazing in a pasture along the Susquehanna river, near Montgomery Pa.
 
If you are driving up 405 from Watsontown to Montgomery, before you get to the river bridge, you may see an unusual sight in the pasture to the left.  Unlike most local farms, this fence holds not cows, but camels.  Yes, camels, being raised right here in central Pa!  
 

There are about half a dozen camel dairies in the Us, in Missouri, Michigan, and Indiana, as well as here in Pennsylvania.  The milk sells for around $10 a pint, which seems very high, but it is also very difficult to obtain.

"The camels have a very unique milking system. To survive in the harsh desert, camels can turn their milk supply off to conserve energy. To produce milk, a calf must be at its mother’s side and the camels only produce milk for 90 seconds. The camels are milked twice a day with a conventional milking machine. Each camel produces a half gallon or four pints per milking."

https://www.paeats.com/feature/lancaster-county-farm-specializes-in-good-for-you-camel-milk/

 

"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“A camel will allow milk to be withdrawn from their udder for only 90 seconds,” he says.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.” - http://amishamerica.com/amish-milking-camels/

 

Noah Peachy's Camel farm, originally located out 54 right outside of Turbotville, was the first camel dairy in our state, but his cousin Amos Miller now also has his own dairy in Bird In Hand Pa as well.  The Turbotville camel farm moved to 405 a couple of years ago and the camels can now be often seen grazing near there spring through fall. Mr. Peachy has an organic farm stand at the corner of his property in the summer and fall, as well.

Camels do well here in the Pennsylvania summers, but our winter climate is too harsh for them, and they must be kept indoors and fed good quality hay throughout that season.