There are a few brands of replacement formula on the market yet when I talk to different breeders many of them tell me they don't use any of them, they use goats milk which they get in the supermarket that is sold in cans.
My question has two parts: 1) Which do you use 2) Why
I have asked them the following questions:
Is there something you don't like about the prepared formulas?
Is it the goats milk is cheaper?
The common answer I received is "We have always use goats milk"
Not to making things even more confusing for you, but most breeder I know would never use anything but prepared formula. Most of us like JUST BORN. Plain old goats milk really doesn't have an nutrition a growing puppy needs.
Personally it sounds more like country folk doing what comes natural, and using what they have availible. I know alot of breeders who do not have holistic stores, or very good pet stores around so they order everything they need. It may also depend on the breed.
I would never use anything else. I love JUST BORN, and always have it on hand incase of an emergancy during whelping.
I use a homemade formula. I have had several pups need hand fed 24/7 and did very well on it. The prepared is hard to find, and by the time I would use enough to get my money's worth, it is expired. Having toy breeds, plus not breeding very often in addition to I rarely have to supplement, homemade with ingredients I always have here anyway makes more sense for me.
I always keep at least a small can of powder form Esbilac on hand. It isn't the cheapest route but keeping the 1 lb. on hand is worth the investment even if I do have to pitch part of it. You can also freeze the partially used can to help extend its shelf life. I have heard some say the prepared milk replacer is too rich, if you have that issue then simply adding more water to it will take care of the problem. The prepared is made to mimic bitches milk as close as possible and thats why I prefer to use it.
I recently had to supplement too, a litter of 10 corgi pups and mom needed quite a bit of help feeding everybody.
I've used both Esbilac and made my own formula... I thought with similar results. A lot depends on why you're supplementing. A weak/sick puppy is going to use formula and calories differently than a healthy puppy that maybe doesn't have access to Mom's milk. I had a litter of 8 last summer (HUGE litter for a Sheltie) and one very small puppy that was totally healthy, she just had a much lower birth weight than siblings. I dropper supplemented her and made a conscious effort to hold her to the bitch several times a day (more because her siblings pushed her out - not because SHE needed help). At 2 1/2 weeks I started offering her Esbilac in a bowl and she suddenly took off (because SHE suddenly controlled her food intake). She was a little toad puppy within a week. She still nursed on Mom some... but she got to the point where she preferred to lap formula from a bowl than to fight with her bigger siblings. She eventually got close to catching up to everyone else - but it wasn't until she was 7 or 8 weeks and they were all eating dry food and it no longer mattered :).
I do have a friend that had to totally hand raise a puppy last summer when the mother's milk went toxic. Her vet, who raises and shows Border Collies and Borzoi's (Interesting combination, I know) sent her home with a prepared formula called Gastromate. My friend said that in 30 years she'd never seen a puppy take off like that being tube fed. It was like he was on Mom's milk and not being hand raised and he ever had those icky "formula stools". I haven't been able to find it locally...
I know breeders who swear by Goats Milk also... and if it works for them, fine. Every breed is different, every puppy is different... There are plus' and minus' to every choice.