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Methods of Artificially Feeding Colostrum to the New-Born Calf

R. J. Fallon, F. J. Harte and M. G. Keane
Irish Journal of Agricultural Research
Vol. 28, No. 1 (1989), pp. 57-63
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25556230
Page Count: 7
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Methods of Artificially Feeding Colostrum to the New-Born Calf
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Abstract

The importance of immunoglobulins (Ig) obtained from colostrum to the well-being of the new-born calf is well established. Variation among cows in the Ig content of colostrum was examined at each of the first three milkings post-partum. The effects of method of feeding colostrum, amount fed, temperature of colostrum and presence of the dam on serum Ig level of the calf at 96 h post-partum were examined in a series of experiments. The mean Ig concentration (g/l) of milk was 121 at the first milking (7h post-partum), 61 at the second milking (19 h post-partum) and 24 at the third milking (25 h post-partum). The variation among cows was quite large. Intakes of colostrum by calves offered one feed by artificial nipple or bucket at 5 h post-partum or two feeds (one at 5 h and one at 12 h) by nipple or bucket were 43, 53, 109 and 109 g/kg birthweight, respectively. The corresponding serum Ig levels (Zinc Sulphate Turbidity units) were 10.1, 10.6, 19.9 and 22.6 (SE 0.9), respectively. There was no effect of colostrum temperature (14°C vs 38°C) on intake or serum Ig levels. Calves offered colostrum in the presence of their dams had higher serum Ig levels (26.1 vs 20.5, SE 1.0) than calves isolated from their dams despite similar intakes of colostrum (107 and 98 g/kg birthweight). Giving two feeds of supplementary colostrum over the first 24 h to calves which were with their dams resulted in additional colostrum intake of 43 g/kg and serum Ig levels of 16.0 and 24.9 (SE 1.9) for the non-supplemented and supplemented calves, respectively. Two feeds of colostrum offered to the new-born calf ensured that serum Ig levels were satisfactory and were independent of method of feeding or feeding temperature.

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