29 Jan 2018
Making sure all calves have consumed sufficient colostrum as soon as possible after birth is vital, as it provides both protective antibodies and high-quality nutrition. These help the calf fight disease and deliver high levels of performance.
Suckled calves should have drunk three litres of colostrum within two hours of birth. If not, they
should be given some via a nipple bottle or stomach tube. The calf’s ability to absorb the immunoglobulins in colostrum reduces significantly from about six hours after birth and has gone completely by 24 hours.
Colostrum quality depends on the cow’s body condition at calving and her pre-calving diet. First
calvers tend to have poorer quality colostrum than older cows. Particular attention should be
paid to trace elements and vitamins in the dry cow ration.