29 Jan 2018
Colostrum management is the foundation of successful calf rearing. Colostrum contains a high
concentration of protective antibodies, or IgG, alongside a range of other constituents which are crucial for the future growth and development of the calf.
Ensuring calves absorb a sufficient quantity of IgG from colostrum in the first few hours after birth is
critical to safeguarding their health early in life and optimising their future productivity.
Calves should have serum IgG levels of >10mg/ml at 24 hours of age1
The main factors that determine the success of antibody transfer are the timing of colostrum
collection and feeding, and the quantity and quality of the colostrum that is consumed.
Calves should receive 3-4 litres (10% of birth weight) of good quality
colostrum within 2 hours of birth.
Routine assessment of colostrum quality will ensure that calves are only fed the best, reducing
the risk that they receive too little antibody, which leaves calves at increased risk of disease.
Good quality colostrum has an IgG level of greater than 50mg/ml1
A focus on good hygiene when collecting and storing colostrum is also essential.