Effective calf rearing is an important part of ensuring the economic success of many livestock units; to get it right it's important to have a structured, goal-orientated approach.
The manual offers practical tips on how to best strategy calf management and health, starting with colostrum feeding, which is an essential step in the management of any calf health .
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It has been suggested that up to 50% of calves born that don't obtain a sufficient amount of good excellent colostrum. The newborn calf is reliant upon colostrum for the transport of immunoglobulins (Ig) and along with other nonimmunologic substances which stimulate immune activity.
Immunoglobulins, or antibodies, are proteins that facilitate the identification and destruction of invading pathogens, providing the calf with passive immunity until its immune system is established.
The efficacy of passive immunity depends upon the quality, quantity, and time of colostrum ingestion. Following birth the capability of the calf's gut to absorb the immunoglobulins rapidly decreases and about 24 hr it is not able to consume them at all.
It is thus important to guarantee colostrum is fed as soon as possible after arrival. A critical mass of 100 to 200 g of immunoglobulin must be ingested by a newborn calf to obtain passive immunity.
Quality Fantastic quality colostrum contains at least 50 g/L of antibody IgG. To measure the quality, utilizing a colorimeter or refractometer. Quickly aim for all calves to get their first dose of colostrum in just two hours of birth to optimize resistance.