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Colostrum

Failure to get sufficient colostrum in early life is a major problem on dairy farms world-wide.  Many studies have shown that 25% of calves get insufficient colostrum.

There are many reasons why a calf doesn’t get enough colostrum off its dam – difficult birth, slow to stand, poor mothering ability etc. If calves get insufficient colostrum then they are much more likely to get sick and die. Low colostrum calves that survive spend more time fighting off infections and often grow slower.  It is critical that calves get at least 4 litres of high quality colostrum within 24 hours of birth.  Even better if it is within 6-12 hours.  A move on some dairy farms is to collect calves twice daily to ensure calves get colostrum early.  High quality colostrum is the colostrum the cow produces in the first 24 hours. Which cow it comes from is not important – what is important is that the calf gets it fresh and as soon as possible.