The Performance Leader in Baby Animal Nutrition
Calf Milk Replacer Guide
Merrick's Calf Milk Replacer Guide provides a variety of information on calf milk replacers including ingredients, medications and additives. Proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals have important roles in milk replacers and in calf growth. Protein sources, medications options and special additives are all options for inclusion in milk replacers. Protein options inlcude:
- Milk proteins are typically more highly digestible than non-milk proteins and provide a desirable amino acid profile for calf growth. These include whey, whey protein concentrate, delactosed whey, skim milk, and casein.
- Egg proteins have been incorporated into commercial milk replacers for several years with excellent results. Egg proteins are often referred to as the perfect protein and have been the standard for evaluating proteins. Their amino acid content and digestibility are the reference against which all other proteins are compared. Egg proteins are also less expensive than milk proteins, thereby reducing the cost of milk replacer.
- Animal Plasma proteins provide a unique protein source that contains active albumin and globulin proteins such as IgG and IgM. This highly soluble, high quality protein source has an amino acid profile and nutritive value comparable to nonfat dried (skim) milk and casein. In the digestive tract, IgG has a direct effect on pathogens and may also have a direct effect on the intestinal lining, or mucosa.
- Wheat protein (hydrolyzed wheat gluten) is ideally suited for incorporation into calf milk replacers. It is low in fiber and ash and contains a much higher percentage of protein compared to whey protein concentrate (80% protein vs. 34% protein). Digestibility of hydrolyzed wheat gluten, organic matter and crude protein is very high and is estimated to be 95%.
- Soy proteins can provide an economic alternative to other proteins. Growth and performance are acceptable, but are generally considered to be less than that attainable with other milk replacer protein sources. Soy proteins should be avoided when raising calves on an intensive milk replacer feeding program.
Several medications are available for inclusion in milk replacer. The decision to use a medicated milk replacer can be based on a number of factors including calf facilities, disease history and personal preference. The appropriate medication to use depends on the pathogen(s) affecting calves. Milk replacer medications are:
- Deccox.- a coccidiostat for coccidia
- Bovatec (lasalocid) - a coccidiocide for coccidia
- Oxytetracycline/Neomycin Base - an antibiotic combination for treatment of diarrhea and pneumonia
- Oxytetracycline - an antibiotic for growth promotion
There are many other milk replacer additives that can be added during manufacturing as well as several others than can be added to milk replacer as it is mixed on the farm.
The Calf Milk Replacer Guide offers suggestions about starting a calf on milk replacer along with feeding suggestions, and provides insights into raising a healthy calf from colostrum through weaning.
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