OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — There is all kinds of "milk" available these days: There's traditional cow milk, goat's milk, and even almond and rice milk — which the dairy industry says is not milk at all.
But donkey's milk is probably be a first for many. That's right — donkey milk.
It's big in the rest of the world but it hasn't become popular in the U.S. yet. But for one family in the Oklahoma City area has turned to donkey milk to save their daughter.
Mammoth donkeys are really good at multi-tasking. They are laid back and gentle and provide lots of entertainment — but what else they provide may surprise.
"People look at us like, 'What?' " Saundra Traywick said. "And they think we're joking and we're like, 'No! We really do milk donkeys!'"
The Traywicks have 14 donkeys on their farm east of Oklahoma City — three jacks, or males, and 11 jinnys, the females. They are all American mammoth donkeys, originally bred by President George Washington, who got his first one from the King of Spain. Washington bred them to be big and strong for farm work.
"He actually had two, but one of them died on a sea voyage," daughter Hannah Traywick said. "The other one's name was Royal Gift and that was the first mammoth donkey that came to America."
Donkey milk is used all around the world and is slowly catching on in the States. Doctors in other countries prescribe it for asthma, breast cancer, colic and dozens of other diseases and ailments.
Some studies show donkey milk has 60 times the vitamin C of cow milk and is much easier for us to digest.
Saundra Traywick believes donkey milk saved Hannah. When she was 6, Hannah developed an autoimmune strep disease that attacks the brain. Doctors prescribed years of massive doses of strong antiobiotics, something the Traywicks didn't want, so they started researching alternatives and heard about donkey milk.
"So we got some donkey milk and within 24 hours she was back to 100 percent herself," Traywick said. "It was amazing and literally that fast!"
Hannah recovered and neither her nor sister, Elaina, have been sick since. The Traywicks started a Facebook page to share their donkey's milk with other sick kids.
"It's been a godsend for us and for a lot of other kids, too," Traywick said. "We gave some to a little girl with asthma and her mom said that worked faster than her nebulizer or her inhaler."
The Traywicks give sick children the first jar free.
It turns out that mammoth donkeys don't give much milk at all, and it takes a lot to feed and care for them. They're endangered animals that only provide one to six cups a day, and each cup sells for about ten dollars.
The Traywicks aren't looking to get rich, but they figured if donkey milk was good internally they could use the milk to make all'natural skincare products.
As for drinking, donkey's milk is sweeter and lighter than traditional cow's milk.
The Traywicks say they're not doctors. They won't claim that donkey milk will cure any disease. But they say it worked for them, and hear every day from parents who say it did for them as well.
The Traywicks are one of just a couple of donkey dairies in the country. By law, they can't ship any of the milk, so customers have to go to their farm to get it.
Learn more about Donkey's Milk by visiting the Traywick's website, Dulce De Donké.