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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Factors affecting colostrum quality and utilization in calves.

There are factors that determine if newborn calves are getting enough colostrum and this also depends on the cow and the quality of the colostrum. Calves that does not receive an adequate amount of high quality colostrum immediately after calving may then be subject to an increased risk of morbidity and decreased growth rate and lifetime milk production. The following factors are to be considered when attempting to achieve maximum benefits from colostrum and hence improve health and performance of calves; 1) feeding method: Leaving calves to nurse from their mothers can cause extreme problems with colostrum and immunoglobulin consumption. Approximately 25-40% of calves that nurse from the dam do not consume an adequate amount of high quality colostrum because calves tend to drink small quantities after birth. This inadequate consumption allows bacteria to enter and multiply in the intestine, causing mortality that may lead to death. Calves do not want to consume the recommended amount of colostrum right after birth because they do not usually have a strong drive to nurse, or because the calf might not physically be able to consume colostrum because of the birthing process resulting in internal bruising to the organs or broken bones. When this occurs, esophageal feeders can be used to ensure calves receive an appropriate amount of quality colostrum. It is recommended that calves be removed from their dam no longer than two hours after parturition when fed via bottle or esophageal feeder. Feeding calves with the use of an esophageal feeder or 'tube' can damage the oral tract so carry out procedure with care. 2) cleanliness: this refers to the absence of bacteria in colostrum. This can be ensured by carry out these practices ; Thoroughly wash your hands before milking the cow. • Prepare the udder as you would before milking by cleaning. • Milk into a clean, sanitized bucket. • Do not feed colostrum from known infected cows. • Do not pool raw colostrum. • Feed calves using only clean, sanitized bottles or buckets and nipples. • Do not let colostrum sit at room temperature; feed it, refrigerate it or freeze it within one hour of collection. 3) cow's health status: the health of the cow is very important as pathogen exposure is crucial in regards to dam health and colostrum quality. Cows that have been exposed to higher amounts of pathogens are more likely to have higher immunoglobulin levels. Pathogen exposure and age are highly correlated due to the fact that older cows tend to be exposed to a greater number of pathogens. However, there is also a risk in feeding calves raw maternal colostrum because pathogen exposure occurring before calves have developed immunity can affect mortality and morbidity. Mycoplasma spp, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella spp are infectious agents that can cause scours and septicemia in calves by being shed from the udder or by mishandling and storing raw colostrum.