Production of mare's milk in the 21st Century

Every day around 30 million people in Asia consume mare's milk. The most known producers are Mongolians, who traditionally live nomadic. The majority of the milk is for domestic needs. Many times the milk is the only food available. Mare's milk is also appreciated in the region of former Soviet Union.

In Europe mare's milk has become popular in the 1990's. Germany, Italy and France were the first European countries which started with production, later followed by some other European countries.

Mare's milk production in Slovenia

In Slovenia only few premises are registered for mare`s milk production. Only one is approved and controlled by the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Food Safety, Veterinary Sector and Plant Protection. Premises is owned by company LacMar d.o.o., which buys mare`s milk of registered premises. Mare's milk is packaged, frozen and distributed. It also has retail trade. In addition, mare milk also applies for cosmetic products, such as soaps, shampoos and creams. Only Slovenian autochthonous breeds of mares are milked, with the aim to support the preservation of Slovenian genetic resources.

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Technology of the mare's milk production

Mares' are milked when foals reach the age of two months. Horse milking technology is very different from milking with ruminants. The main difference is that foal has to remain in touch with the mare for the whole period of milk production. Milking is more frequent than with cows or small ruminant. Usually the milking is performed from twice to four times a day. It is necessary to separate the foal from the mare for some time before the milking process. Milking by hand results in a lower yield in comparison to automated milking and the microbiological picture is better with automation as well.