The Perfect Protein
Egg protein is often referred to as the perfect protein, being the standard for evaluating proteins for much of the 20th century. Their amino acid content and digestibility are the reference against which all other protein sources are compared.Egg proteins are also less expensive than milk proteins, thereby reducing the cost of milk replacer.
Estimates of amino acid requirements for young calves indicate that lysine and methionine + cystine are first and second limiting amino acids (Davis and Drackley, 1998). The following table shows how the amino acid percentages of egg proteins stack up to whey proteins, demonstrating that eggs provide more key amino acids.
Amino Acid Profiles
(Percentage of Protein)
|Amino Acid||Egg Protein||Whey Protein|
|Methionine + Cystine||5.4||3.1|
|Phenylalanine + Tyrosine||9.4||5.9|
Eggs are also a source of energy (eggs are 37% fat), iron, phosphorous, trace minerals and vitamins. They are an important source of lecithin (about 8-9% lecithin in egg yolk), which acts as a natural antioxidant as well as a skin and hair coat conditioner. Eggs are also a source of choline which, like lecithin, is associated with positive hair coat characteristics.
Merrick's manufacturing process begins with liquid whole eggs. This unique manufacturing process is fundamental in obtaining the excellent calf performance results achieved with our egg-enriched milk replacers. Whole eggs (minus the shells) are thoroughly mixed with other milk replacer ingredients in a liquid process. This mixture is pastuerized and then spray dried to make the milk replacer powder. Other manufacturing processes rely on blending and mixing dried egg components with other dry ingredients which often results in reduced calf performance.
Feeding eggs to calves is not a new concept. It wasn't long ago that our parents or grandparents cracked an egg into a calf's milk to give it something extra to help it to a better start or to help it through a case of calf scours. Obviously, egg is no longer just a home remedy.
Egg proteins have been incorporated into commercial milk replacers for several years with excellent results. Research trials at Merrick's Calf Research Facility show that calves receiving milk replacer formulated with milk and egg proteins perform equal to or better than calves that receive milk replacer containing only milk proteins.