Raigi Camel Breed


Raigi camel is predominantly found in the historic Khurasan region. The region had very rich history. Avesta, the holy book of Zoroaster, written in 2570 and 25230 BP, called Khurasan as Arya Warsha (mean the place for grazing). The word is still in use as Pashto (Warsh) word for the grazing land.

Production systems and socioeconomic importance

The Raigi camel is well adapted to the climatic extremes and is well appreciated for its significance in the pastoral economy. It is mainly raised under nomadic and transhumant types of production systems. Only male animals are kept for work by some sedentary people, but some sedentary people keep she-camel for milk. The transhumant or semi-nomadic people travel inside the Khurasan region either in Pakistan or Afghanistan, but some families travel up to Musakhail district of Balochistan province in winter.

The nomadic people travel south western along with the border on both sides and reach to the Raig (Raigistan) desert of triangle i.e. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. They stay in winter there and come back to Khurasan in summer. Those people mainly raise Khurasani goat and Jiggie sheep. In Khurasan, camel is being used mainly as baggage animal by the pastoral people, who travel with their families along with the Durand Line and may stay near Kandhar, Hirat, Farah, and Kurrum area of Chaghai district in Balochistan. The sedentary people mainly use Raigi camel for milk and local transportation.

In Khurasan region camel is used on religious rituals like Eid ul Azha and Sadaqa. The meat of camel is traditionally dried (Landi) and use during the winter. In recent years the importance of camel increased many folds due to various factors like drought, high male calf prices, demand in the neighboring countries, and awareness about the camel products.

Population size and trend

Their populations of the Raigi herders are estimated to number about 300-500 households, but the exact figures are hard to find because of the remoteness and instability of the area. The breed is cross boundary in nature and need to be study from the both sides. Normally the average herd size is small (13) but the range is too wide and ranges from 4-150 animals. The estimated population of the breed ranges from 4700 to 7000. The trend of the population is not appreciable and decreasing in number because of high slaughter rate and political instability in the region. The other main reason is the increasing desertification and scarcity of the feeding materials in the area.

Biometric parameters of Raigi breed

Body measurements Male Female Mean
Head Length 39.48 39.19 39.25
Head Width 20.14 19.75 19.87
Wither Height 165.67 163.93 164.34
Thoracic Girth 175.33 173.5 174.415
Abdominal Girth 210 237.3 223.65
Tail Length 49.10 47.21 47.67
Ear Length 11 10.99 10.99
Ear width 5.95 5.99 5.98
Neck Length 82.76 76.14 78.49
Body Length 139.33 139.27 139.3
Estimated Weight 337.58 384.90 439.995

Table Reproductive and productive Traits of Raigi camel

No

Traits

Values

Male

Female

1

Average birth Weight

30 kg

33 kg

2

Average weaning Weight*

140 kg

160 kg

5

Ready for workload

3 yr

3 yr

7

Use for heavy duty

7 yr

8

Age of puberty

3.5 yr

3 yr

9

Average work life

20 yr

10

Average reproductive life

15 ye

21 yr

11 Conception rate out of herd 50-53%
12 Gestation  period 375-386 day
13 Calving rate out of herd 50-55%
14 Calving interval 2-3 yr
15 Average milk production 7 kg/day
16 Lactation length 10-12 month
17 Wool Production 3 kg

 Breeding goals

Thick and consistent milk production for longer duration is one of the major breeding goals. Wide chest and wide cannon bone, a criterion for good climbing ability in mountainous ecology is another breeding goal. Also, long travelling ability is the important breeding goal to enable it for nomadism.

 Special traits of the breed

v  Thick milk is special trait, one of the most thick milk in camel breeds

v  Drinking brackish water

v  Eating the bitter taste plant Artemisia

Phenotypic characteristics

The color of the Raigi camel is fawn in summer and brown in the winter season. The camel has long eye lashes. The Dark brown retina and the black nails are in the Raigi camel. The large barrel like body cavity of the Raigi camel indicates its dairy potential in the future.

Reproductive and productive performance

The breeding age for male and female is 3.5 years and 3 years respectively. One vigorous bull is satisfactory for breeding of 40 animals. Service period remains for 5 to 6 days and estrus cycle ranging from 1- 4 weeks. If conceived, she camel changes her behavior at 6th day of service and show a different behavior as erecting her tail when an animal or a person come near to her. Calving interval is normally 2-3 years, depending upon the availability of foliage and lactation length. Average reproductive life of a female is about 15 years. Weight of the calf at the birth is almost 30-33 kg, depending upon the sex, nutritional and health status of the dam. Weaning weight at (9 month) is about 140-160 kg. 

Marketing and future economic potential

The markets of the cities like Ghazni, Zabul, Kandahar and other cities of Afghanistan are the main markets for the meat of this breed. Some animals reach to the meat market of Zhob in Pakistan. The new trend of market is also increasing i.e. illegal export of camel to Iran for meat. There is high consumer demand for camel meat locally. The local people use camel meat for Landi in winter, and also slaughter animal on special occasions like Eid and sadaqa.

The milk of the camel is saltiest in general but this phenomenon is specific for Raigi, which entirely graize on haloxylon and artimisia. The surplus milk is used especially used for Shlombey and Kurth. The Raigi camel is famous in the region for its thick milk yields and can give top yields of 5-6 kg per day in ordinary grazing system. Camels are milked twice or thrice per day, usually at nighttime and in the early morning hours. Lactation lengths average one year and calving intervals approximate two years.

2 thoughts on “Raigi Camel Breed

  1. I found the paper quite interesting. However, data need checking. The camels are very light by any standard (e.g. Wllson 1984 and 1990), and what also differs from the books is that females seem to be heavier than males. Definitly a mistake occurred in the table on biometric trades. The mean of two figures cannot be higher than even the highest figure. Can you correct thatß

    Thanks

    Wolfgang Bayer

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