I had an opportunity to collect colostrum samples on Thursday last week. One sample was from the collection bucket. The cow had calved about 30 minutes ago - she was up, steady on her feet and was busy licking her calf. After she was restrained the caregiver cleaned up the teats and milked her into a clean collection bucket. After a gallon of colostrum was poured off for feeding the calf I collected my sample from the bucket. A bacteria culture showed 6,500 cfu/ml Staph species.
My second sample one-half hour later was from the same collection bucket (rinsed between cows with warm water and then a quick chlorine solution rinse) for cow #9640. Same routine with cow - udder prep the same. The bacteria culture showed 300 cfu/ml Staph species.
My third sample was colostrum from the same cow, same collection bucket coming out of the tube feeder. The bacteria culture showed 1,800 cfu/ml Staph species.
How do these compare to the maximum thresholds I usually use to assess cleanliness of colostrum for feeding newborn calves?
I like to see the total or Standard Plate Count at 50,000 cfu/ml or less and the Coliform count at 5,000 cfu/ml or less. Dr. McGuirk, University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, uses thresholds of 100,000 cfu/ml and 10,000 cfu/ml respectively.
These values are very, very low.
Clean collection bucket.
Clean tube feeder.
If there was inoculation with bacteria, there was no opportunity for growth.
So, feeding fresh colostrum procedures get rated A+.
My next check on this dairy will be to get samples of colostrum that is fed after being frozen, thawed and warmed for feeding.