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What's New?

WildAgain's Wildlife Formula Calculator was updated November 8, 2022. Please download the new version and discard any prior versions.

November 2022

New Goat's Milk KMR® 2022 – testing and analysis. PetAg® announced a new kitten milk replacer powders on their website (www.petag.com) during 2022. Users of KMR® now have an alternative based on goat's milk. The obvious difference between the two 40/28 formulations is goat milk based versus cow milk based. Yet test results indicate other key differences that should be considered prior to use.

Part 1 of this series presents independent lab test results of the new product as well as WildAgain’s performance testing on measurement and reconstitution. Part 2 (PDF) presents some key takeaways and comparisons between the two KMR® formulations from these test results that rehabilitators may want to consider when deciding about using this new product as a formula base or blending ingredient.

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New KMR® 2022 – testing and analysis. PetAg® announced changes in several of their primary milk replacer powders on their website (www.petag.com) in early 2022, including a newly reformulated KMR®. This is not necessarily a cause for immediate concern as manufacturers regularly make product changes from time to time and for many reasons.

Part 1 of this series presents independent lab test results of the new product as well as WildAgain’s performance testing on measurement and reconstitution. Part 2 (PDF) presents and discusses 8 key takeaways from these test results that rehabilitators may want to consider when deciding about transitioning to this new formulation of a widely used milk replacer.

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October 2022

New Esbilac® 2022 – testing and analysis. PetAg® announced changes in several of their primary milk replacer powders on their website (www.petag.com) in early 2022, including a newly reformulated Esbilac®. This is not necessarily a cause for immediate concern as manufacturers regularly make product changes from time to time and for many reasons.

Part 1 of this series presents independent lab test results of the new product as well as WildAgain’s performance testing on measurement and reconstitution. Part 2 (PDF) presents and discusses 7 key takeaways from these test results that rehabilitators may want to consider when deciding about transitioning to this new formulation of a widely used milk replacer.

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New GME® 2022 – testing and analysis. PetAg® announced changes in several of their primary milk replacer powders on their website (www.petag.com) in early 2022, including a newly reformulated GME®. This is not necessarily a cause for immediate concern as manufacturers regularly make product changes from time to time and for many reasons.

Part 1 of this series presents independent lab test results of the new product as well as WildAgain’s performance testing on measurement and reconstitution. Part 2 (PDF) presents and discusses 8 key takeaways from these test results that rehabilitators may want to consider when deciding about transitioning to this new formulation of a widely used milk replacer.

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Post (Busy) Season Review:  Celebrating Success & Seeking Improvement. Towards the end of the calendar year, many wildlife rehabilitators ‘wind down’ from their ‘busiest’ rehab seasons and finalize their rehab records. It is also a time, when not fully immersed in daily operations, to go beyond the annual reports to reflect on successes and challenges and, as importantly, identify changes for the next year. This article offers some tips from ‘post season’ reviews conducted by businesses and rehabilitators to help celebrate successes and plan the future year. (Click here for the PDF)

September 2022

KMR testing (four 2021 lots) - Increased unsaturated fat and rancidity issues. WildAgain had extensive lab tests conducted on KMR milk replacer powder manufactured in 2021 as a baseline to compare to the new KMR being manufactured in 2022 once it becomes available. While the tests indicated the overall nutrient composition remained similar from 2018, they suggest the formulation of the fatty acids had changed – potentially resulting in greater susceptibility to rancidity, especially if exposed to heat and oxygen. The peroxide value tests on those KMR 2021 lots did reveal slightly elevated  rancidity – meaning rehabilitators will want to consider extra care when storing and using the milk powders. Full analysis here (PDF).

August 2022

Esbilac has been reformulated - is it still an instant mix?  PetAg has reformulated some of their milk replacer powders in 2022, with new labels and ingredient changes. Test results recently completed of the proximate analysis on Esbilac made in early 2022 have been posted in WildAgain's Wildlife Formula Calculator and the more detailed lab test data spread sheet. A summary of the reconstitution testing is available here.  It confirms improved performance of allowing the prepared formula to rest in the refrigerator for a minimum of 8 hours after mixing. This results in a more complete reconstitution of the powdered Esbilac to liquid form and allows for more complete digestion – at least for young wild mammals. Further analysis of Esbilac, KMR and GME will be posted in the coming months.

June 2022

Wildlife Rehabilitators Provide More Benefits Than People Realize. Rehabilitation of individual wild animals is a major objective and certainly valuable, especially for animals receiving care. Wildlife rehabilitators provide many other services that benefit wildlife and people beyond direct animal care. This article provides some examples (PDF). 

May 2022

WildAgain's Wildlife Formula Calculator was updated May 29 with ­­­­­­­7 product/lots that have been tested in spring 2022. Recent lots for those products were tested by an independent lab and are now available in the calculator. Included are milk replacer powders made by PetAg, Fox Valley, Wombaroo and MannaPro. These are lots manufactured in 2021 which are still in use by many rehabilitators.

 

For lot-specific data (proximate analysis and dietary mineral content), the Lab Test Data Spreadsheet has also been updated with these tests. The User Input tab has examples that may be included in formula recipes for those considering them, such as a medium chain triglyceride (MCT) product.

 

Remember, while the calculator can help with the math to compare the formula recipe to the species milks, other factors contribute to formula’s effectiveness, digestibility, etc. – such as storage, preparation, microbiome. Some of this information is already in the Quick Reads – and more being developed. 

July 2021 

       Milk Replacer Update: Trends and Analysis - Summer 2021Trends are identified in the context of 18 years of test results for many products. This extended analysis examines and discusses the lab test results of 30 product/lots performed year to date. While continuing to identify variances from the Guaranteed Analysis, the update introduces the metric of "Expected Values" for total solids, protein and fat as a more reliable predictor of nutritional content in the products. The summary provides overall observations, takeaway thoughts, and action steps for incorporating the products to create wildlife substitute milk formulas. Described as "comprehensive and revealing" by one of our reviewers/editors, this newly added content may help to address some of the reported issues and problems seen this year. (Just want the highlights? Click here.)

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NEWLY EXPANDED - Storage time and temperature can affect reconstitution for milk replacers. Previously posted in March 2021, this article takes a much deeper dive into the affects of improperly storing powdered milk replacer. Research and testing suggest it is much more than 'store in a cool, dry place and use before the expiration date.'  Learn how product freshness, storage temperatures and how soon it is used make a big difference for the animals. An easy storage checklist is also provided.

September 2021

Recent Lab Test Results for Esbilac. Three recent tests are summarized below and will be added to the Wildlife Formula Calculator and Lab Test Data Spreadsheet very shortly:

 

Lot#          Date made     Protein%     Fat%     Calcium%     Phosphorus%     Ca:P ratio

3510E           Dec 2020          36.6             36.2           1.36                        0.90                 1.51

0421E           Feb 2021          36.7             39.9            1.33                       0.92                 1.44

0751E           Mar 2021          36.2             40.5            1.11                       0.78                 1.42

1919/20 ave. (16 lots)       35.8             37.8            1.11                       0.82                  1.36

Summary observations: Protein levels increasing very slightly; fat levels increasing towards minimum guarantee of 40%; Calcium increasing about 20% from prior years; Phosphorus up about 10% from prior years; Ca:P ratio up slightly due to higher calcium concentrations. 

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June 2021 

WildAgain's Wildlife Formula Calculator was updated June 15 with thirty new product/lots that have been tested so far this year. Recent lots for various products have been tested by an independent lab and are now available in the calculator. These are primarily those lots manufactured in 2020 which are still in use by many rehabilitators, but also includes a few 2021 lots. For lot-specific data (proximate analysis and dietary mineral content), the Lab Test Data Spreadsheet has also been updated with these 30 tests. Additionally, new species milk data has been added to the drop-down menu in Step 1 of the calculator.

May 2021 

Dry matter vs. wet matter update. Several recent social media posts continue to indicate lack of fundamental understanding between wet and dry matter, when comparing milk replacer products. Unfortunately some of the posts are incomplete, incorrect and misleading and may result in the reader pusuing a wrong course of action. For example, is there more protein in Esbilac powder or prepared Esbilac liquid sold in a can? Does Fox Valley 32/40 or GME have more kcals per gram? These simple questions are answered along with the math that allows anyone to make valid and accurate comparisons.

Rodent chow product update. An analysis of chow products first published in 2003 has now been updated and expanded to 39 available products. It addresses many common questions including:  Should I use rodent chow, or not? Which products are designed for growing animals? Which products have the most fat? What are the ingredients? What about protein content, and calcium and phosphorus? How should I properly store them? And much more.

April 2021 

Preparing formula. Recent research on milk replacer powders shows that preparation factors can substantially impact the formulas as well as wild animals’ health and growth. Minor adjustments with preparing formulas can help. Example of modified preparation instructions.

Compilation of squirrel rehab resources on EwildAgain.org. In response to rehabilitator requests, this resource list of items and links will hopefully make it faster and easier to find a particular subject related to squirrel rehab (e.g., aspiration, stool problems, rodent chow and squirrel natural history). Some of papers were previously available only in WildAgain's Squirrel Rehabilitation Handbook (3 ed.). 

Lab test results – View the lab test spreadsheet for more complete independent lab test data on nutrition components, dietary minerals and kcal for the product/lots listed below.

 

Zoologic 42/25  Lot# 1149-ZF-1369.  Guarantee vs. lab test: Protein >42.0% vs. 43.1%. Fat >25.0% vs. 26.6%. Calcium 1.28%, Phosphorus .97%. 

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March 2021

Formula and feeding section – new and expanded. New format has more features and updated resources. Learn more on species milks, functions of milk components (e.g., proteins, fats, carbs) and why important for rehabilitators to consider. The expanded Wildlife Formula Calculator allows easy comparison of formula recipes to the species milks and weights. It shows that preparation method makes a significant difference as to the extent the young animal can benefit from the formula, with including photos and charts reasons for mixing steps. Results of lab tests are provided on 140 milk powders for rehabilitators wondering about how specific milk replacers compare between products and over time. The resources support rehabilitators having key information to make informed decisions about formula recipes, product selection, storage and mixing – which can help the animals in their care. More articles, including ‘quick reads’ and resources are regularly added. Online and virtual training will be available on these and more topics by mid-2021.

Reconstitution of powdered milk products. Discusses critical differences between dissolving milk powders in water versus reconstituting (using modified mixing and resting methods). Proper reconstitution can improve dispersal/dissolution of the powder into more digestible formula by 90%. See explanations and photos of test results for various products, including Fox Valley, Esbilac, and Zoologic powders. Conclusions suggest new methods involving water temp, powder/water mixing sequence, and resting time post-mix.

Lab test results – View the lab test spreadsheet for more complete independent lab test data on nutrition components, dietary minerals and kcal for the product/lots listed below.

 

Fox Valley 32/40  Lot# 012350.  Guarantee vs. lab test: Protein >32.0% vs. 36.8%. Fat >40.0% vs. 38.2%. Calcium 1.54%, Phosphorus .96%. (Dietary copper not detected.)

Fox Valley 32/40  Lot# 013050.  Guarantee vs. lab test: Protein >32.0% vs. 36.0%. Fat >40.0% vs. 41.3%. Calcium 1.64%, Phosphorus .93%. 

Fox Valley 25/30  Lot# 052550.  Guarantee vs. lab test: Protein >25.0% vs. 29.3%. Fat >30.0% vs. 30.5%. Calcium 1.58%, Phosphorus 1.08%. (Dietary copper not detected.)

Fox Valley 40/25  Lot# 023200.  Guarantee vs. lab test: Protein >40.0% vs. 42.4%. Fat >25.0% vs. 24.2%. Calcium 1.76%, Phosphorus 1.01%. (Dietary copper not detected.)

Esbilac 33/40  Lot# 1640E-1890.  Guarantee vs. lab test: Protein >33.0% vs. 36.1%. Fat >40.0% vs. 39.3%. Calcium 1.12%, Phosphorus .80%. 

 

Esbilac 33/40  Lot# 0080E-0340.  Guarantee vs. lab test: Protein >33.0% vs. 36.6%. Fat >40.0% vs. 39.3%. Calcium 1.09%, Phosphorus .86%. 

 

Zoologic 33/40  Lot# 3350ZE3630.  Guarantee vs. lab test: Protein >33.0% vs. 34.8%. Fat >40.0% vs. 41.8%. Calcium 1.23%, Phosphorus .69%.

Updated COVID-19 guidance for rehabilitators. This PDF (right) provides new suggestions for rehabilitators and others working with animals as to transmission mitigation strategies and health protection measures. (**Also check with your state for any recent changes in rehab regulations and/or temporary species-specific suspensions.)

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February 2021

Reconstitution of powdered milk products (click here for the new section). Discusses critical differences between dissolving milk powders in water versus reconstituting (using modified mixing and resting methods). Proper reconstitution can improve dispersal/dissolution of the powder into more digestible formula by 90%. See explanations and photos of test results for various products, including Fox Valley, Esbilac, and Zoologic powders. Conclusions suggest new methods involving water temp, powder/water mixing sequence, and resting time post-mix.

Helping wildlife and reducing work. Rehabilitators help wildlife beyond direct care. As rehab busy season approaches, good time to remember and expand ways to help animals that may help rehabilitators reduce their workload and costs.  See the longer discussion here.

January 2021

Estimating formula feedings per day. Grappling with calculating kcals to help figure number of formula feedings per day? Review of factors influencing the kcals and decisions, with a short article and chart with weights as well as a longer paper (PDF) with more science and equations.  

This PDF is the companion piece that provides a longer and more in-depth foundation of the science and equations used in estimating minimum kcal requirements per day. 

December 2020

Uses of annual rehab reports beyond agency requirements. Consider using these annual records to help planning, fundraising, training and more. 

 

Comparing annual rehab records over several years can help planning (e.g., identifying when wild babies arrive, length of stay in rehab, replenishing supplies inventory), as well as identifying other trends that can affect rehab decisions and practice.   

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