It is very difficult to determine the quality of a product and the significance this will have on the young animal, from quickly reading the bag label. But analysing the bag label in detail can give an indication as to the type of product.
Protein and fat levels are both important to consider when choosing a milk replacer. Protein provides essential amino acids which are essential for growth; the protein percent stated gives the overall total protein in the diet. But remember, this does not give an indication of the protein quality or amino acid levels or the percentage from dairy and vegetable sources – all of which are essential to the young animal.
The oils and fats percentage stated indicates the percentage of energy giving ingredients; this will normally include a number of vegetable oils, but will not indicate the percentage inclusion of each type, and the quality and digestibility of the oils included.
Only by reading the list of ingredients can you start to get an idea as to the level and type of protein and fat included in the milk replacer.
List of Ingredients / Composition:
Milk replacers can contain a variety of ingredients, each of which can be of a varying quality resulting in variable digestibility to the young animal. It is essential to feed the young animal a highly digestible product.
The ingredients on a bag label should be listed in descending order based on the inclusion level in the formulation. Ingredients listed towards the end of the list are thus likely to be included at a very low level. Look out for ingredients displayed prominently on the bag but appear towards the end of the ingredients list – as these will comprise very little of the overall formulation.