According to research, it is proving to be a viable alternative for children who are allergic to cows' milk (lactose intolerance) and cancer patients. While goat and sheep's milk have been traditional alternatives, they cannot be used in about 90% of cases of cows' milk allergies because the allergens are the same. Other common alternative such as flavoured soya milk, may not be recommended because of the rising incidences of soya allergies amongst the young children in urban areas.
This milk is the closest to a human milk and has many benefits. It's extremely high in omega 3, 6 and 9; the nutrients found in oily fish, which helps to lower cholesterol. It's also needed in the immune system, the gut and importantly for the brain, especially for the young children. It also has high levels of calcium, and contains the enzyme Lysozeme, which is anti-bacterial and can protect against intestinal infections.
Moreover, the donkey milk is very high in antibodies and in glutathione which is an amino acid needed for the liver and it also acts to chelate out toxins from the body. Diabetics, cancer patients and autistic children are usually very low in this nutrient.
Though it doesn't have enough calories to feed a newborn baby alone, Dr Millie Hinkle expects it will be easily made into a formula substitute in the near future.
Milking a donkey
However, donkey milk is not that easy to produce compared to cow dairies. Cows are bred to produce a lot of milk, unlike donkeys which have never been bred that way. A donkey only has two teats, rather than a cow's four, and milking only produces about a litre a day per animal - a cow can produce more than 10 times that.
What's more, a donkey can only be milked for about six months after producing a foal, and even then only when the foal is close by.