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Rising pet ownership and the need to fulfill nutritional needs of animals in the agricultural industry are expected to drive the market. In recent years, the pet market has grown significantly with changing lifestyles, for example, a greater number of people are living alone, and many married couples lead their lives without a child. Pets or companion animals offer humans much needed interaction that gives some social, medical, emotional and physical benefits. Such companion animals include dogs, cats, rabbits, etc. In case of early weaned and orphaned animals, milk replacers are suggested as a way of feeding if mother’s milk is not available. North America, Europe and Asia are expected to be key markets.
After dogs and cats, rabbits are a popular pet. Rabbits are preferred because they are clean, quiet, benign, and need less space. Rabbits are generally weaned at 31–35 days of age, and start consuming pelleted diets at around 18 days of age. Milk replacers are suggested as a means of feeding early weaned and orphaned rabbits; it is also suggested when milk of female rabbit is not available in sufficient quantity. Mother’s milk is baby rabbits’ major source of nutrients, and also prevents gastrointestinal disease.
Milk replacers are made of unique ingredients as neonatal animals are unable to digest conventional feed ingredients such as soybean meal, corn or characteristic by-product ingredients. Milk replacers are prepared employing ingredients that may be easily digested by neonatal animals, are nutrient dense and economical for manufacturers. Generally, milk replacers use by-products generated during the manufacture of butter or cheese. When butter is produced, milk fat and water combine to make butter; the co-product, called “skim milk” or “non-fat dried milk,” carries casein and whey proteins, lactose and minerals. Whey is the co-product when cheese is produced. Cheese carries butterfat, casein, calcium and phosphorus; whey proteins and lactose are present in whey, with different degrees of sodium, potassium and chloride, which may be added in the cheese-making process. Non-fat dried milk has nearly thirty five percent protein; whey protein is concentrated to “whey protein concentrate” or “WPC,” which carries nearly thirty four percent protein through lactose removal by ultrafiltration or crystallization. Fats included milk replacers normally contain tallow and lard, and some vegetable fats such as coconut oil and restricted amounts of vegetable oils.
Modern formulations carry high-quality ingredients derived from soy, wheat, corn and animal by-products. It has been reported that replacing a part of milk ingredients with non-milk elements can considerably lower the cost of milk replacer with equal or superior calf performance than an all-milk formulation. Non-milk protein elements include soy protein concentrate, soy isolate, blood plasma, pea protein and hydrolyzed wheat protein.
Lactose, also known as ‘milk sugar’, is the key carbohydrate in milk. Several modern milk replacers substitute some amount of lactose with dextrose, pre-gelatinized starch, and/or extruded wheat flour. While milk ingredients experience significant price variations, non-milk elements exhibit a more consistent price over periods of time. This gives manufacturers a major cost advantage.
Other elements included in milk replacers include vitamins, minerals, emulsifiers, and various types of additives. Probiotics and prebiotics are popular additives used in mil replacers.
Several years ago, many milk replacer preparations carried antibiotics such as oxytetracycline and neomycin. While today most milk replacers are non-medicated, several preparations contain additives to enhance calf health and performance.
Leading firms are looking to offer novel nutritional solutions to meet animals’ nutritional needs. For example, in 2021, Meyenberg turned its expertise to creating nutrient-rich, premium nourishment for pets. The company introduced Tailspring, with a nutritious, goat milk-based milk replacer for puppies and kittens. The milk replacer was the first offering in the new product line inspired by Meyenberg’s experience with breeders, animal rescues, zoos, and customer testimonials.
Manna Pro offers Nurse All®, a multi-species milk replacer with probiotics. The product is powered by Opti-Gut™ to aid gut health and digestion. It is easy to mix and carries proteins that support growth and development. The preparation is suitable for calves, foals, goat kids, lambs, piglets, llamas, alpacas, puppies and kittens.
Key Findings of the Report:
Market Analysis by Pet Category, Product, Form, and Region:
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