Colostrum Management

Bottles, buckets and nipples

Bottles, buckets and nipples should first be rinsed in warm water to remove residue milk, then washed using soap and hot water (80°C). If you wash them immediately with hot water, the milk proteins become “cooked” on to the equipment and provide […]

Colostrum Replacements

A colostral supplement should be considered when maternal colostrum is of poor quality, if it is contaminated by pathogens, or if fresh colostrum is unavailable. When buying colostrum replacements, make sure they contain at least 100 g of IgG/dose. There […]

Using a Colostrometer

Colostrometers measure the specific gravity of colostrum and estimates of immunoglobulin (IgG) levels present in colostrum. When using a colostrometer, it is important to follow these guidelines: Allow the sample to cool to room temperature. Fill the cylinder to the […]

Collecting Colostrum

Wash your hands before collecting colostrum. Cleanly collect colostrum from the cow. Prepare the udder as you would for milking. Clean mother’s teats and teat ends using a single cloth or towel approach as follows; strip, dip/wash, dry, and apply […]

Antibody Absorption

From this graph, you can see the importance of getting the colostrum into the calf as soon as possible. By 24 hours old, the calf’s ability to absorb antibodies has rapidly declined. This decline starts 30 minutes after birth which […]

Freezing Colostrum

It is recommended that colostrum be frozen in two–litre double–bagged freezer bags or two litre plastic containers. Laying the bags on a flat surface in the freezer – like a cookie sheet for example – speeds up the freezing process. […]

Thawing Colostrum

Colostrum should be thawed in a warm water bath (50°C or 120°F), and NOT at room temperature on a counter. Microwaving on low for short time periods is acceptable. Avoid creating hot spots in the frozen colostrum. Preventing Bacterial Contamination […]

Feeding Colostrum

If colostrum is good quality, free of blood, serum, mastitis, feed 4 litres to the calf within 30 minutes of birth. If colostrum is poor quality use good quality colostrum that has been frozen or a good quality colostrum replacement […]

Pooling Colostrum

Feeding pooled colostrum – mixing colostrum from various sources together – to calves is NOT recommended because of the potential for spreading disease. The risks associated with using pooled colostrum far outweigh the added advantage of immuno–protection from multiple–sourced cows. […]

Colostrum Management

Why is colostrum so important to a newborn calf? A calf is born with a naïve immune system. The placenta of the cow does not allow immunoglobulins to pass through the maternal blood to the fetus. A newly born calf […]

Storing Colostrum

Fresh colostrum can be refrigerated without degrading the proteins for up to seven days. Do not leave colostrum at room temperature. Bacteria double every 20 minutes in colostrum. When you do refrigerate colostrum the fridge should be between 1°C to […]

Colostrum Quality

Colostrum should look like and have the consistency of melted vanilla ice cream. Runny, thin colostrum or colostrum mixed with blood are signs of poor quality. To test for quality use a colostrometer. Calves that have a total protein concentration […]