Understanding Proteins in Milk Replacers

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Today, there are many choices of proteins used in milk replacers for your baby animals. Many of the price differences, for these milk replacers, are a reflection of the ingredients in the product you are buying. At some point, you may find yourself looking at three different bags, all appearing to be the same product and all weighing the same. However, you notice they have different prices. In most cases, the price difference is a reflection of the type of proteins used in the manufacturing of the product inside the bag. What’s even more confusing is that all of three products, in the bags, are most likely similar in color. They range from a white to cream.

NurseallFor a newborn baby animal, products labeled as being formulated with “all milk” ingredients, like Manna Pro Nurseall, are your best choice. However, you’ll find that these products are the most expensive.

In order to understand the type of product you are buying, it’s important to know how to read the “Guaranteed Analysis” on the bag/tag of the product.

Here are a few things to look at:

  • Crude Protein - provides essential amino acids for tissue synthesis in animals. Protein content should be evaluated as to amount, source (protein sources vary in their bio-availability to the animal) and presence of anti-nutritional factors.
  • Crude Fat - provides a concentrated energy source (2.25 times the energy of carbohydrates); provides essential fatty acids and is important in maintaining a slick hair coat. Animals raised in a cold environment have a higher requirement for energy.
  • Crude Fiber – indicates the level of insoluble complex carbohydrates. Levels greater than 0.2% indicate the use of soy proteins; wheat protein and other plant or animal protein sources (ex. Soy Flour, Soy Protein Concentrate and Soy Isolate). Some plant protein sources contain anti-nutritional factors, but many are well utilized at moderate inclusion levels. (Manna Pro Unimilk is a product unimilkformulated with Soy Protein Isolate – a great product at a great price)
  • Vitamins A, D and E - are necessary for normal growth and health of animals and are important in cell respiration and metabolism.

It’s important to remember…the more refined the plant protein (i.e. Soy Isolate) the better the baby animal can utilize the protein in the milk replacer you buy.

Also, if you are purchasing a product that has “Soy Flour” listed as an ingredient, it should be fed only to calves, once they reach 21 days of life.

Learn More about Milk Replacers!
CLICK HERE to Watch our Milk Replacer 101 Video.

Cathy Morris

Cathy Morris

Cathy Morris is an expert in Rural Lifestyle living. She has worked for several leading animal health organizations and has a B.S. in Animal Science from the University of Minnesota.

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