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FAQs

Q: What is colostrum and why is it important?
Q: What kinds of products will I need to bottle raise a baby animal?
Q: Can I feed milk replacer to a species that is not on the label?
Q: Grade A® Ultra 24 Multi Purpose Milk Replacer contains added copper – is it safe to feed to lambs?
Q: How can I determine when the product was manufactured?
Q: What is the shelf life of milk replacers and related supplements?
Q: What is the best way to store milk replacer?
Q: What if there isn't a cup in the bag?
Q: Doesn't a kitchen cup hold 8 ounces?
Q: Can I buy products directly from Milk Products?

 

Q: What is colostrum and why is it important?

A: Colostrum is the first milk produced by the mother after the birth of her young.  Colostrum contains nutrients vital to the survival and health of the newborn, including high levels of proteins called antibodies (also called immunoglobulins, Ig, and globulin protein).  These antibodies are the only source of immunity for newborn animals, because most farm species and some companion animals do not receive any immunity through the placenta in utero.  It is critical that all animals nurse colostrum from the mother, or receive an alternate source of colostrum within the first 24 hours of life, the time period during which they can absorb these antibodies into their blood stream undigested and intact.

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Q: What kinds of products will I need to bottle raise a baby animal?

A: Baby animals that are being bottle fed from birth will generally need:

  • Colostrum - if no clean, disease-free colostrum is available from the mother, an alternate source (another mother of the same or a similar species) or a supplement product can be used.  Feed colostrum for the first day, even if your animal is more than 24 hours old.
  • Milk replacer – transition to a high quality milk replacer labeled for your animal on the second day.  Formulas with all-milk derived proteins are preferred, especially for smaller species.  Vegetable proteins (soy and wheat are most common) are generally not suitable for any species but calves, and cheaper sources of soy protein (such as soy flour) are not suitable for calves under 3 weeks of age due to lower digestibility.
  • Electrolytes – powdered electrolytes supplement should be kept on hand to mix and feed during periods of scours (diarrhea) or other stress, to help prevent or reverse dehydration.  Electrolytes should always be fed separately from milk replacer for best results.
  • Scours treatment products – medicated scours treatment products that include milk replacer are only approved for use in calves, and cannot be legally or safely fed to other species.
  • Probiotics – gel, paste or dispersible powder supplements are available to help restore the natural balance of the bacterial population in the digestive tract.  Use during periods of stress, particularly after antibiotic use, which can eliminate good bacteria along with pathogenic (disease-causing) strains.
  • Starter feed or food – baby animals can only be weaned successfully from milk replacer when they are consuming enough solid feed or food to sustain them without milk.  Select a starter feed labeled specifically for your baby animal, and avoid adult feeds until your animal is mature enough to digest them well.

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Q: Can I feed milk replacer to a species that is not on the label?

A: Sometimes.  Here are some general guidelines:

  • Calf milk replacer should not be fed to lambs or goat kids.  It does not contain enough protein or fat for either species, and there is too much copper and lactose in calf milk replacer to be safe for lambs.
  • Sav-A-Kid® milk replacer contains supplemental copper and is not suitable for lambs.
  • Sav-A-Lam® milk replacer is not ideal for goat kids (it has a bit too much fat), but it can be safely fed if that is all you have.  Because Sav-A-Lam contains no added copper, there is potential for copper deficiency in goat kids if lamb milk replacer is fed for the entire milk feeding period.
  • If your animal is not listed on the label, it is best to consult with your veterinarian about the suitability of the product for your animal.

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Q: Grade A® Ultra 24 Multi Purpose Milk Replacer contains added copper – is it safe to feed to lambs?

A: Yes.  Sheep and lambs actually require a small amount of copper, but they are highly sensitive to excess amounts.  The level in Grade A Ultra 24 is well within the tolerance level for lambs and will not cause toxicity.

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Q: How can I determine when the product was manufactured?

A: The manufacture date code is printed on the package after it is filled with product.  It is a “born on” date, NOT an expiration date.  On large paper bags (25 lb & 50 lb) the date code can be found on the bottom ¼ of bag on the back.  On pails and plastic bags, the code will be printed on the side of pail or on the back of bag.

 

For milk replacers in large paper bags, the date code format will be A06/01/09/D, where 6/1/09 is the manufacture date.

For pails and re-sealable plastic bags, the date code format will be AF901AZ, where “F” represents the month (June) and “9” represents the year (2009).  The next two numbers are the day of the month, for a manufacture date of 6/1/09.  The remaining month codes are as follows (Note: we skip “I” and use “J” for September because “I” resembles “1”):

A = January D = April  G = July K = October
       
B = February E = May   H = August  L = November
       
C = March F = June J = September M = December

For single feeding packets (Electrolytes Plus, Scours Control 2 and Scours & Pneumonia Treatment), the date code format will be 150AF901AZ, where the first three numbers represent the “Julian date” (example: May 30th is the 150th day of the year 2009) that the product was manufactured.  The remainder of the date code indicates when it was packaged, and is read the same way as the date codes for pails and plastic bags above.

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Q: What is the shelf life of milk replacers and related supplements?

A: Milk Replacers contain milk proteins and fats that can degrade over time.  The expected shelf life for milk replacers in good storage conditions is about 12 months past the manufacture date.  The powder should be a uniform white to cream color, with no dark specks.  The aroma should be sweet and fresh, not stale, sharp, or offensive in any way.  After 2 years milk replacers that have been stored at room temperature should be discarded.  This is especially important for medicated products, as the medication will not be effective once it is past its recommended shelf life.

Colostrum products have characteristics similar to milk replacer but their lower fat content, and the foil lined pouches most are packaged in, extends their shelf life up to an additional year.  After 3 years colostrum products should be discarded.

Most electrolytes products are relatively shelf stable, depending on the formulation.  Moisture in the package can cause discoloration and/or lumping – this product should be discarded.

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Q: What is the best way to store milk replacer?

A: A cool, dry place out of direct sunlight is the best place to store milk replacer powder and other related dry supplement products.  Most dry milk replacers can be sealed tightly and frozen to extend shelf life up to a year past the shelf life expected at room temperature.

Once milk replacer powder has been mixed with water, it should be refrigerated promptly to slow bacterial growth.  Re-warm refrigerated milk replacer solution gently over a warm water bath (microwaving is not recommended), and discard any leftover refrigerated milk replacer after 24 hours.

Liquid colostrum and electrolytes solutions should not be stored after mixing – it is best to discard and start with fresh powder and water.

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Q: What if there isn’t a cup in the bag?

A: The cup inside our small package milk replacers holds approximately 4 ounces by weight of milk replacer powder, and is equal in volume to a standard dry kitchen cup.  Large bag calf milk replacers (25 lb and 50 lb) call for 10 ounces of powder to be mixed into 2 quarts of water – you can simply use 2 ½ standard dry kitchen cups if needed.

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Q: Doesn’t a kitchen cup hold 8 ounces?

A: A standard wet kitchen cup holds 8 fluid ounces, but milk replacer powder actually weighs half as much as the same volume of water, so the same size cup holds only 4 ounces (1/4 pound) of dry milk replacer powder.

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Q: Can I buy products directly from Milk Products?

A: We cannot sell products directly to end users, but we would be happy to refer you to a dealer in your area, or to one of our mail-order dealers.  Click the “Where to Buy” or “Buy Online Now” link on any page of the web site for more information.  (Links to “Where to buy” and online dealer list).

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