Getting those calves started right? Much like depending on the weather forecast to provide us with accurate weather predictions (especially lately), we can't always rely on fresh cows to give us the quality colostrum calves need.
Quality colostrum is the key to achieving successful passive transfer in newborn calves. The virtues of colostrum in successful calf raising cannot be overemphasized! This "liquid gold" not only delivers critical immune protection, but also provides specialized nutrients, energy, fluid, and warmth to newborn calves.
The five fundamentals of excellent colostrum are:
1. Quality - Colostrum quality usually is evaluated in terms of IgG concentration. An IgG concentration level of 50 g/L or higher commonly is used as the threshold to define good-quality colostrum.
2. Quickness - Times is of the essence in both harvest and delivery of colostrum. Feed colostrum to newborns as soon as possible. Ideally within the first 2 hours of life!
3. Quantity - Calves need more than a standard, 2 quart bottle full of colostrum for optimal results. Industry standards recommend feeding colostrum at 10% of the calf's birthweight. (so for a 50 pound calf, 4 quarts).
4. Cleanliness - Colostrum should be free of visible contaminants like blood, manure, mastitis, and flies.
5. Biosecurity - Colostrum can be a carrier for many vertical diseases that can be carried from cow to calf. These include Johne's disease, bovine leukemia virus, Mycoplasma, Salmonella, and E. coli. This is another great reason to feed your cows rumensin or bovatech ahead of calving time!
If a cows colostrum is not available for a calf's first hours of life, we carry a wide variety of colostrum replacers - including; Quick Start, Colostryx, and Optiprime.
For more information on colostrum, milk replacers, or other calving supplies and supplements we carry; give us a call at the office 406-488-1953 or Ben 406-480-2953 or stop by!