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Milk Replacer, Powder or Pellets

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There are a variety of powdered milk replacer products on the market. The one I have used most frequently is Foal Lac®. Mare’s Match® is another leading brand in the USA. Three brands commonly used in the UK are Equilac®, Equi-Col®, and Aintree Foal Milk®.

Mare’s milk contains higher carbohydrate and less fat and protein than either cow or goat milk. Goat milk is tolerated better by foals than cow milk. A calf milk replacer could be used on an emergency basis only. Any foal milk replacer should be warmed to about 38 degrees C prior to offering it.

Until a commercial product can be purchased, a foal milk replacer can be made with household ingredients. Following is an emergency recipe for a foal milk replacer made from cow’s milk. Add 2 teaspoons of honey to a liter of 2% low-fat, skim milk.

When initially using a milk replacer (the first few feedings after a foal has been drinking mare’s milk) , make it about 25% more dilute than the directions call for. Foals lack the intestinal capacity to break down and utilize milk replacers but quickly adapt, so feeding a more dilute mixture helps ease the transition. Feeding small amounts more frequently is always recommended rather than giving large portions.

Foals fed from a bottle typically require a lamb’s nipple. My preference is to feed foals milk replacer from a bucket.

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Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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