WildAgain’s next round of research and analysis on powdered milk replacers



Wildlife rehabilitators know that diet and nutrition are critical to the health, well-being, survival and ultimate release of animals in rehabilitation. As it says in the NWRA Principles of Wildlife Rehabilitation (2nd edition):

“Nutritional mismanagement is second only to trauma as a cause of death or progression to unreleaseable status of wildlife….”.

That statement is as true today as it was when published over 18 years ago – perhaps more so. Nutrition matters.


WildAgain was informed of numerous cases of young wild mammals being fed formula developing health problems that seemed directly linked to formula in September 2019. Included were: musculoskeletal disorders; slower than normal weight gain; slow development; gastrointestinal problems; and fatalities that appeared related to milk replacer formulas. WildAgain committed to updating and expanding upon the research that we conducted 10 years ago by gathering information on the cases, the milk replacers and related aspects of their use, and more. The research includes looking at the variety on powdered milk replacers widely used; how they are chosen and mixed to construct milk formulas fed to young mammals; and working to identify any possible links between the reported health issues and these products and formula recipes.


WildAgain is working to provide a variety of resources to support the rehabilitation community exploring this large, complex and developing topic. As our current research and analysis begin to reveal trends or concerns/issues, the information will be available in short articles, as well as longer papers, training videos, presentations, and more. Most will be available here at ewildagain.org. See below for a list of the areas of research exploration and analysis, as well as some of the initial information we plan to produce and share, targeted for release January and February 2020. (Topics in yellow are clickable links):

1.) Wild Species Milk Composition - why it's important to know and reference sources for species-specific data



2.) Determining a Recipe for a substitute milk formula


Products - Powdered Milk Replacers


Other products to include

  • Fat supplements
  • Other additives


Matching a recipe to the Mother's milk - WildAgain's Calculator Tool


Milk replacer lab test data and nutritional considerations



3.) Formula Preparation


Measuring dry (powder and wet ingredients)


Mixing the ingredients

  • Sequencing of combining ingredients
  • Milk powder reconstitution considerations

Water and dry powder temperatures

Hydration process


Rancidity (and storage considerations)


4.) Feeding Protocols



  • Schedule/frequency
  • Amounts
  • Meeting the minimum daily calorie (energy) requirement




5.) Evaluation of Effectiveness/Success


  • Starting point (hydrated, stabilzed, low-stress environment, medications, etc)
  • Weight gain
  • G.I. health (digestion/elimination)
  • Pelage/fur development
  • Musculo-skeletal strength/development
  • Temperament (inc. social interactions with litter/cage mates)
  • Other overall general health considerations


6.) Feedback Loop - assessing problem areas and targeting areas for change


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