Skip to main content Accessibility help

Jennet milk production during the lactation in a Sicilian farming system

  • C. Giosuè (a1), M. Alabiso (a1), G. Russo (a1), M. L. Alicata (a1) and C. Torrisi (a2)...


In Italy, the interest for jennet milk production has recently developed. An 18-month-long experiment was carried out on a jennet farm near Milo (CT), where 24 jennets, which derived from the Ragusana breed, were tested for milk yield and composition over an entire lactation period. The jennets were fed with hay and concentrate in a large paddock. From the 28th post-foaling day to the end of the lactation, the jennets were machine-milked twice a day with an in-between milking interval of 5 h. The milk amount from each jennet was recorded every 3 weeks and individual samples were collected and analyzed for fat, protein, casein, non-proteic nitrogen, lactose and somatic cell count. This study showed that jennets at Sicilian latitudes are not seasonal polyestrous. The daily milk yield, the length of lactation and the milk characteristics varied depending on the foaling season. The total average milk production was 490 ± 36 kg in 295 ± 12 post-foaling days, considering two milking records per day. During the lactation, milk yield decreased constantly from 1.98 to 1.28 kg/jennet per day. When looking at the jennet milk quality during lactation, the percentage of fat and protein decreased, while the lactose percentage increased, according to a tendency apparently unique for equines when compared to the ruminants. When looking at the productive season, spring generally gave the best qualitative and quantitative results. Based on these results, jennet milk yield and quality could be improved; furthermore, jennet milk production may turn out to be a profitable business.


Corresponding author


Hide All
Aguggini, G, Beghelli, V, Giulio, LF 1998. Fisiologia degli animali domestici con elementi di etologia, pp. 800–802. Utet, Torino, Italy.
Alabiso M, Di Grigoli A, Bonanno A, Alicata ML and Bongarrà M 2000. Effetto del diverso comportamento al rilascio del latte sulla produzione quanti-qualitativa in bovine Modicane. Proceedings of the 54th Società Italiana delle Scienze veterinarie congress, Riva del Garda, Italy, pp. 457–458.
ASPA 1995. Commissione metodologie di valutazione della produzione quanti-qualitativa del latte. Metodi di analisi del latte delle principali specie di interesse zootecnico. Centro stampa Universita` di Perugia, Italy.
Chiofalo B, Azzara V, Lotta L and Chiofalo L 2004. I parametri chimico fisici del latte di asina Ragusana nel corso della lattazione. Proceedings of the 6th Nuove acquisizioni in materia di Ippologia congress, Campobasso, Italy, pp. 77–84.
Dell’Orto, V, Salimei, E, Bontempo, V, Fantuz, F, Toppino, PM, Contarini, G, Locci, F 1994. Dairy mares’ milk: I. Yield and composition of milk and relation with some plasma metabolites. Journal of Dairy Science 77 (suppl. 1), 347.
Doreau, M 1991. Le lait de jument. Productions Animales 4, 297302.
Doreau, M, Boulot, S, Jeunet, R, Trin, JM 1985. Comparaison de différentes méthodes de dosage des matières azotés du lait de jument. Le lait 65, 149161.
Gamberini G 2005. “Cavalgiocare”: un’asino per maestro. Proceedings of the 1st Convegno Nazionale sull’asino congress, Grosseto, Italy, pp. 117–119.
Guo, HY, Pang, K, Zhang, XY, Zhao, L, Chen, SW, Dong, ML, Ren, FZ 2007. Composition, physiochemical properties, nitrogen fraction distribution, and amino acid profile of donkey milk. Journal of Dairy Science 90, 16351643.
Iacono, G, Carroccio, A, Cavataio, F, Montalto, G, Soresi, M, Balsamo, V 1992. Use of ass’milk in multiple food allergy. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 14, 177181.
ICAR 2003. International Committee for Animal Recording. International regulations for milk recording in sheep. Institut de l’élevage, Department Génétique et Controle des Performances, Paris.
Intrieri F and Minieri L 1969. Sulla composizione chimica del latte di cavalla: indagini su soggetti di razza Avelignese. Proceedings of the 23th Società Italiana delle Scienze veterinarie congress, Saint Vincent, Italy, pp. 558–561.
Malacarne, M, Martuzzi, F, Summer, A, Mariani, P 2002. Protein and fat composition of mare’s milk some nutritional remarks with reference to human and cows milk: a review. International Dairy Journal 12, 869877.
Pinto F, Lestinghi A, Caputi Jambrenghi A, Marsico G and Vonghia G 1998. Conservazione e valorizzazione dell’asino di Martina Franca: influenza dell’integrazione alimentare su alcuni aspetti quanti-qualitativi del latte. 1. Indagine preliminare. Proceedings of the 4th Convegno Nazionale della Biodiversità congress, Alghero, Italy, pp. 1173–1176.
Polidori F 1994. Il latte dietetico. Proceedings of Aspetti dietetici nella produzione del latte, un alimento antico proiettato verso il futuro symposium, Torino, Italy, pp. 47–58.
Salimei, E, Fantuz, F, Coppola, R, Chiofalo, B, Polidori, P, Varisco, G 2004. Composition and characteristics of ass’s milk. Animal Research 53, 6768.
Ullrey, DE, Struthers, RD, Hendricks, DG, Brent, BE 1966. Composition of mare’s milk. Journal of Animal Science 25, 217222.
Wolfsont, C 2002. Increasing behavioral skills and level of understanding in adults: a brief method integrating Dennison’s Brain Gym® Balance with Piaget’s Reflective Processes. Journal of Adult Development 9, 187203.


Jennet milk production during the lactation in a Sicilian farming system

  • C. Giosuè (a1), M. Alabiso (a1), G. Russo (a1), M. L. Alicata (a1) and C. Torrisi (a2)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed