306 Research paper – Patel – 2014 – Ensuring optimal colostrum transfer to newborn dairy calvesClick here for resource
In Significant Impact Groups:
Species targeted: Dairy;Beef;
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This article reviews best practice recommendations for healthy calves via optimal colostrum feeding. Colostrum must be collected hygienically and fed promptly (<1h) or stored using refrigeration/potassium sorbate as preservative/freezing and/or pasteurisation. All equipment must be scrupulously cleaned. A first feed of 3-4L colostrum (approximately 10% body weight) should be fed within 2h of birth and no later than 6h of birth. This should contain >50g/L immunoglobulin (Ig). Adequate intake cannot be assumed when calves suckle their dam. Pooling of colostrum between cows increases the risk of disease transfer. Feeding with a nipple bottle promotes oesophageal groove closure but if calves fail to suck then colostrum should be fed via oesophageal tube. Calves not receiving adequate colostrum (<10g/L of IgG or <50g/L total protein on bloods) have a reduced ability to fight disease. Mortality rates and disease incidence should be monitored to detect problems early and prevent future issues.