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Why Colostrum Milk Important for Calf Health?

It is known that drinking the right amount of colostrum milk from newborn calves can be one of the most important factors in preventing calf washing and the reason behind it. This is especially true if the cow has been vaccinated against washing in the weeks leading up to the calf's birth. The antibodies that cows develop naturally and with the help of a vaccine are transferred to calves via colostrum.

There are several important considerations that farmers need to take into account when setting up a calves health system to ensure colostrum is consumed properly according to best practices.

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Give calf colostrum within hours of birth

In the first few hours of life, calves can absorb important antibodies that are transferred through the colostrum. The golden rule to remember is that the calf must acquire antibodies before the pathogen has a chance to infect the calf. These antibodies are essential for the development of a strong immune system in calves.

Provide the calf with the required amount of colostrum

Because proper intake of colostrum has been shown to be very important for the health of calves, many breeders accidentally throw it away. In fact, only about 40% of dairy calves get enough colostrum from their mothers if left alone.

Many owners, especially dairy farmers, ensure that their calves drink at least two to three liters of colostrum by collecting colostrum from heifers immediately after birth and then bottle feeding the calves.