How To Choose The Best Foal Milk Replacer?

In an ideal world, every foal would nurse from its mother until it was ready to go off and start eating grass, and then combine solid food and mare’s milk for a while until it was weaned. However, there are times when that situation just might not be possible. Sometimes a mare might not have enough milk for her baby; or she may reject it outright and refuse to feed it; or she may tragically lose her life during birth or shortly after.

In these situations, you need to urgently find a substitute so that the new addition to your stables can get the right nutrition to support its growth.

Best Foal Milk Replacer Reviews

Here are three of the best foal milk replacer products that we could find:

Image

Foal Milk Replacers

Price

Foal-Lac Instantized Powder, 40-PoundTOP PICK: Foal-Lac Instantized Powder

A great replacer designed solely for foals.

CLICK TO CHECK PRICE
Land O Lakes ProNurse Specialty Milk ReplacerLand O Lake Pro Nurse Milk Replacer

A universal milk replacer that is easy to mix and feed.

CLICK TO CHECK PRICE
MARE'S MATCH LAND O' LAKES Enhanced Formulation Milk Replacer for young Horses - Fortified with 24% milk protein and 16% homogenized fat - Highly Digestable - 8 LBMare’s Match Enhanced Formulation

A milk replacer with the right ratios of protein and fat.

CLICK TO CHECK PRICE

1. Foal-Lac Instantized Powder Review

Foal-Lac Instantized Powder, 40-Pound

This foal milk replacer has raised thousands of foals to be strong, vigorous and healthy, even without the benefit of their mother’s milk.

Pros

  • Formulated specifically for foals – Unlike some other milk replacers, this one is designed solely for foals and no other type of baby animal. This means that it is perfectly formulated for a horse’s specific needs.
  • Easily digested for delicate tummies – Young mammals do not always have the best digestion, as it has not yet had time to fully form, so they may struggle with hard to digest formula. This one is gentle on the gut, so all the right nutrients are absorbed with no problems.
  • Cane be either bottle or bucket fed – Depending on the age of your foal, you may have to either give this milk replacer in a bottle or from a bucket – either way, this is easy to make up and easy to feed.
  • Mimics the composition of mare’s milk – When you are using a milk replacer, you want it to be as similar to the horse’s natural diet as possible, and the make up of this milk is as close to mare’s milk as it can be.

Cons

  • Some horses do not take to it – There will be the odd foal, usually one that is already eating other solid food, that will turn their nose up at this product.

Recommendation

A great milk replacer for any foal, Foal-Lac will help your little one grow up strong and healthy, despite missing out on some of the finest liquid gold straight from his mother.

CLICK TO CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON


2. Land O Lake Pro Nurse Specialty Milk Replacer Review

Land O Lakes ProNurse Specialty Milk Replacer

Perfect for giving young horses the best start that they can possibly have, Land O Lake’s product is suitable from birth to when the foal has already started on solid foods.

Pros

  • Provides essential nutrients for early development – When you have to use a milk replacer, you may worry that your foal is not getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals to support his growing system. This one contains the right balance to ensure optimum growth.
  • Highly digestible and palatable – Keeping young stomachs comfortable is important, and making sure that the digestion can properly absorb the nutrients is even more so. This formula is easy on the stomach, as well as being tasty, so most foals should love it.
  • Suitable for the bottle or for top dressing feed – This milk replacer can be fed directly in a bottle, or used to add to a young horse’s solid feed to ensure that he is still getting all that he needs.
  • Easy to mix and feed – The Instantizing process is easy to follow and will help you mix up the product so that it is at its best to give to your foal.

Cons

  • Has a relatively short shelf life – Some milk replacers can be made up in batches to save time, but this one may go bad quite quickly if you don’t use it soon after you mix it.

Recommendation

A great milk replacement formula that will help your foals thrive. It mimics mother’s milk as closely as possible, with the right balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates to make sure your orphaned or neglected foal will grow up healthy and happy.

CLICK TO CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON


3. Mare’s Match Land O Lakes Enhanced Formulation Milk Replacer Review

MARE'S MATCH LAND O' LAKES Enhanced Formulation Milk Replacer for young Horses - Fortified with 24% milk protein and 16% homogenized fat - Highly Digestable - 8 LB

In terms of similarities to mare’s milk, this milk replacer has ticked all the right boxes. It will support the health and growing bodies of your youngstock, as well as giving them a much needed boost of vitamins and minerals.

Pros

  • Contains the right ratios of protein and fat – Without a good balance of these things, your foal will not thrive. This product contains 24% milk protein and 16& homogenized fat, making it perfect for a growing foal’s needs.
  • Very easily tolerated by the digestion – Because this food is gentle on the stomach, it will be readily absorbed by the foal’s digestive system and make sure all the energy he needs will be right there at his finger, I mean hoof, tips.
  • Will last for a year if unopened – This product will keep very well, thanks to the strong seal on the bucket. This is great news if your mare suddenly decides to accept the foal, or a foster mother is found – you can keep the powder in case you find yourself in the same position again.
  • Very similar to mare’s milk in composition – Having a milk replacer that is very close to your foal’s natural milk is a very good thing, as it will allow him to grow and flourish to his full capacity.

Cons

  • Comes in a relatively small tub – You may find that 8lb I not enough to keep a hungry little hose going for months on end, so be prepared to spend a little more that you had planned!

Recommendation

This is a superior milk replacer that will make a huge difference to your foal’s life, despite the fact that he was weaned early or never allowed to wean, for whatever reason.

CLICK TO CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do orphaned foals need anything other than milk replacer?

Foals (orphaned or at their mothers’ sides) should always have fresh, clean water and free access to chaff or Lucerne hay, along with good grass hay and/or good grazing. You can introduce a creep feeder when your foal is two weeks old. Orphaned foals will need an early feeding of colostrum.

2. What is colostrum?

Colostrum is “first milk” which foals receive from their mothers right after birth. This milk contains important antibodies that give the foal immunity against common viruses, bacteria and disease.

It is very important for foals to receive this milk during the first 24 hours of life. If your orphaned foal is not able to nurse from its mother at all, you must acquire colostrum from your veterinarian or your local feed store.

You can purchase it frozen. Allow it to thaw naturally before feeding. Don’t heat it or microwave it because this will kill the antibodies. Just allow it to warm up to room temperature, then you may want to hold the bottle under your jacket for a while to make it warmer and more palatable for your orphan.

3. How warm should foal milk replacer be?

During the first couple of weeks, warm the milk replacer up to body temperature (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit). After the first two weeks have passed, you can present the milk replacer at room temperature.

Sometimes, in very hot weather, your product will spoil before the foal has finished it. For older foals, you may want to try chilling the formula.

Don‘t do this for foals under a week old. Only do this for older foals who are drinking out of a bucket.

4. How much milk replacer should a 4 day old foal drink?

Here is a general chart regarding the amount of milk replacer foals should receive daily:

1 – 3 days 1 qt./22 pounds bodyweight
3 – 7 days 1.5 qt./22 pounds bodyweight
1 – 4 weeks 2 qt./22 pounds bodyweight
1 – 4 months 2 qt./22 pounds bodyweight

If your foal is not gaining weight well and is not thriving, try increasing the amount of milk replacer to 2.5 quarts per 22 pounds bodyweight at any age.

5. How often should you feed milk replacer?

Think about the way foals receive milk from their mothers. They take small meals multiple times daily. It is important to replicate this as much as possible because feeding large meals all at once can cause digestive problems and can result in the foal being unable to glean adequate nutrition from the milk replacer. This will manifest as diarrhea and a pot bellied appearance.

Follow these guidelines to give your orphaned foal the best start in life:

1 – 3 days feed 12 – 16 X daily
3 – 7 days feed 8 – 12 X daily
1 – 2 weeks feed 6 – 8 X daily
3 – 4 weeks feed 4 – 6 X daily
1 – 2 months feed 3 – 4 X daily
3 – 4 months feed 2 – 3 X daily

If you are unable to feed this often on an ongoing basis, be sure to feed at least four times a day after the first week. Work on teaching your foal to drink from a bucket so that he or she can establish a natural schedule.

6. How do you feed a foal milk replacer?

Begin feeding milk replacer with a hand-held bottle. After the first few days, you can introduce a bucket and begin teaching your foal how to drink from it.

7. What kind of bottle should you use?

You can use a regular baby bottle with a traditional (not human nipple shaped) nipple. Alternately, you can use a lamb feeding bottle with a nipple intended for use with lambs. Be sure to hold the bottle in such a way that the foal’s nostrils are lower than his/her eye level. If you force the foal to raise its nose, you risk causing milk inhalation.

8. How do you transition an orphaned foal from bottle to bucket?

It may take several tries for your orphan to get the idea. Once he does, be sure to secure the bucket to a fence post or the wall at just below the foal’s chest height.

It’s worth noting that if you transition your foal from hand-held bottle to a bucket with a nipple, he or she may become impatient and simply stop using the nipple and begin drinking directly from the bucket!

9. What is the time period that foal milk replacer is safe to use?

If your orphaned foal has adapted to eating dry feed at a rate of a pound of feed a day for each month of age (i.e. a one month old foal should eat a pound of feed a day, two months old – 2 pounds, etc.) you can begin weaning the foal off milk replacer at three months old. Remember that your foal will still need to be fed frequently. Three times daily is ideal.

10. How long will an open bag of foal milk replacer last if not used up?

All types of livestock milk replacer contain antioxidants that are intended to stabilize the fats and inhibit spoilage. Even so, once the package is opened, exposure to heat and air will cause oxidation and rancidity.

Generally speaking, if you keep your opened product in a cool, dark place (e.g. a refrigerator or freezer) it should stay fresh for up to six months.

Be sure to inspect the product before each use. If it darkens in color or smells “off”, don’t use it. Be sure to read and follow manufacturer’s specific instructions.

11. What if you can’t get milk replacer right away?

If you are not able to get milk replacer immediately after your orphaned foal is born, you can make up an emergency substitute.

Mix together:

  • ½ cups of skim milk powder
  • ½ cups of whole milk powder
  • 2 quarts of warm water

The combination of skim and whole milk powders reduces the amount of fat in the mixture while increasing lactose content. This makes the final product quite similar to mares’ milk.

Note that you can use calf milk replacer instead of the whole milk powder, but be sure to double check the packaging to make certain the product is safe for foals.


Conclusion

Although having to use a milk replacer is far from an ideal situation, whether the reason for needing it is an orphaned foal or one that was rejected it is comforting to know that at least there are alternatives and your little one won’t have to starve. The best foal milk replacer is out there, you just have to search through this list until you find the one that is right for you!

Sam Ellis
Sam is a founder and editor of Horses & Foals. In personal life he is a proud father of a boy and twin girls. He believes it is more important than ever before to encourage children to experience the joy of horse riding. Horses make as much sense as the sunshine in our world.


7 DAY FREE EMAIL COURSE ...

... to learn 7 mistakes I made (that YOU can avoid) when I started with horses






Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.