Providing the best start in life for your calves starts with colostrum, with 35% of calves failing to suckle sufficient amounts of colostrum when left to their own devices. Steph Cowgill from our Lancashire VetTech team gives us some management tips to make sure your calves receive the good stuff…
Ideally colostrum should be harvested cleanly, and 10-12% of the calf’s body weight should be fed in colostrum within the first two hours of calving for the calf to absorb sufficient amounts of antibodies. All colostrum harvested should be tested for quality using a refractometer or colostrometer and anything measuring over 22% (50mg/ml immunoglobulin) on the scale should be fed and stored – it’s always good to date and label the colostrum! Discard colostrum that comes under 22% on the immunoglobulin scale.
We run a Colostrum Check report that helps identify the level of passive transfer your calves are receiving from colostrum. Serum protein levels are assessed from calves 1 – 7 days old and from this we can identify if they have absorbed sufficient antibody levels from the colostrum. The higher the level of protein, the higher the quality of colostrum. We do this as a monthly report, and we can utilise this as VetTechs to help introduce a colostrum protocol on farm and give feedback on colostrum management, leading to healthier and thriving calves.
For more information on the Colostrum Check report, please contact us.