More on Colostrum

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randiliana

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Just read a very interesting article about colostrum. It is based on Dairy cattle, but I would imagine that most of what was written will apply to beef cattle as well. They studied how antibody concentration held up in the cow after calving......

How much does waiting to milk a cow after calving affect antibody concentration in the colostrum?
Researchers at the University of Missouri measured concentrations at 2, 6, 10 and 14 hours after calving.
Using the colostrum collected at 2 hours post calving as the basis for comparison, they found:

Hours ......Decrease in Post Calving Antibody Concentration
2 ...........(None – this is the standard for comparison)
6............17 percent
10...........27 percent
14 ..........33 percent



And had some good comments about feeding it to calves as well.

Achieving higher antibody absorption efficiency in the newborn calf means getting colostrum into the
calf before bacteria get into the gut. Manure meals from the calving pen, pack or pasture before
colostrum is fed work against antibody absorption.

Further, if a calf has to wait six hours after birth to receive her first colostrum feeding nearly 40 percent
fewer antibodies may be absorbed. This assumes she didn’t get a manure meal prior to her colostrum
feeding. Think about it. Unless the calf receives super-quality colostrum at that six-hour first feeding
she is almost certain to have too few antibodies to avoid an infection during the first two weeks of life.


And, on storing it....
• In order not to “cook” antibodies, warm colostrum in water no hotter than you can poke a hand
into safely.
• Warm colostrum to calf body temperature – antibody absorption rates are higher at 102 degrees
than at lower temperatures.
• When storing colostrum chill it right away to 60 degrees before placing it into a refrigerator or
freezer – this slows coliform bacteria growth.
• When your refrigerated colostrum supply looks as though it will last more than two or three
days, consider freezing some. Feeding fresh colostrum has the advantage of providing the calf
with leucocytes as well as antibodies. Most of that advantage is lost after two days in the
refrigerator. Frozen and properly thawed colostrum is a good source of antibodies and nutrition.


The whole article is here:

http://www.calfnotes.com/pdffiles/CNCE0108.pdf

And I think it is worth reading.

More articles on calf raising can be found here:

http://www.calfnotes.com/

It is more geared toward Dairy cattle, but for the most part, a cow is a cow, and you may be surprised what info is here.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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I knew that it was kind of a double sword. Not only are you fighting the calf's ability to utilize the antibodies each hour after birth, but you are LOSING QUALITY in the colostrum in the cows udder. Hadn't seen a chart showing the differences. Thanks for the post.
 
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randiliana

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You are welcome, I had always wondered how fast the cows colostrum declined in quality, figured there had to be some decline there.

So, you have a calf's gut closing, and the cow's clostrum declining makes it pretty important for that calf to have a suck as soon as possible.....
 

regolith

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One of the articles that came out in the local papers last calving season recommended only storing colostrum from cows that gave eight litres or less on their first milking.

Makes sense when you think about it. A couple of mine gave thirty, and the herd as a whole aren't heavy milkers. There's got to be some dilution effect there - and only so much a calf can drink.
 

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