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Camel feeding (so’out)(1)

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Camel feeding

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Traditional social practices

Camel feeding, also known as camel “so’out"2 is the fatty food that is offered to camels which allows them to participate in races. It is composed of fat, honey and eggs.3 Seasonal races are held for camels in many arenas that are spread across different parts of the United Arab Emirates. Preparation involves camel herders supervising everything related to their camels that will be participating in the race, especially their training, feeding and health status.4

The purpose of so’out is to provide camels with energy, as they tend to be exhausted, especially after races. The so’out consists of ghee, honey and eggs. In this context, the narrator Ahmed Al Nuaimi mentions that so’out is comprised of cow fat to which honey and local eggs are added, and is fed to the camels after races to compensate for the exhaustion associated with participating in races. He adds that so’out is given to both regular and racing camels during the mukaid period at a rate of once a week and is usually comprised of pure fat free of any additives.5

The narrator, Al Sagheer Al Dhahiri, points out: “At first, we give them hulool for five days, after which they are given “so’out” comprised of ghee and its components.” He adds: “So’out is given to both large and small camels. To my knowledge, camels whether large or small, are given a period of rest of twenty days, in which they are fed “so’out”, comprised of cow ghee or sheep ghee, if available, as both are natural. The portion of food given during “so’out” is roughly that of a small water bottle filled to its end. "

Al Sagheer explains: “After so’out, camels should be fed pumpkin seeds, and be left to move about for about two kilometers and allowed to rest for twenty days. They must remain in their farm during the day and are not allowed to leave. He also stressed the need to avoid barley and to supply them with dates. The mixture is only given to running camels, because the running mixture is only suitable for runners.” He also warns not to excessively feed the camels ‘so’out”, whether it be cow or sheep ghee, as once is sufficient, while pumpkin seeds should be provided for twenty successive days.6

Thus, thanks to so’out and continued good feeding, camels can regain the energy and strength that they used up during the racing period. In addition, so’out is given to emaciated camels or in order to increase their strength, as the fat provides strength and luster to the hair as well as physical strength to the body.

 

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