Friday, January 6, 2017

Yet More Evidence that Feeding More High Quality Colostrum Has Benefits for Calves

In an Irish study 37 calves averaging 40.4kg (90.5 lbs.) were allocated to two colostrum feeding treatments:
  • 5% of body weight of colostrum (55g/L IgG) fed (2L or 2.1 qts) within 1 hour after birth followed by the same volume of second milking (est. 30g/L IgG) at 12 hours.
  • 10% of body weight of colostrum (55g/L IgG)  fed (4L or 4.2 qts) within 1 hour after birth followd by 2L (2.1qts) of similar quality colostrum at 12 hours.
These feedings translate into:
  • 5%-calves = 110g IgG first feeding, 60g IgG second feeding = total 170g
  • 10%-calves = 220g IgG first feedng, 110g IgG second feeding = total 330g
What happens in the calves? When we compare circulating antibodies in their blood, the 10% calves had 48% more antibodies than 5% calves at 24 hours and 50% more antibodies than 5% calves at 48 hours. 

What happens later? When we compare diarrhea treatment rates, the 10% calves had a 43% treatment rate compared to 53% for 5% calves. Note that these were group housed with an automatic milk replacer feeder and the program had a low threshold for starting treatment.

For comparison, one of my Calf Wellness dairy clients feeds 4qts within one hour of birth, another 2 quarts at 6 hours and another 2 quarts at 12 hours. [All first-milking colostrum tested at greater than 50g/L.] Using blood serum total proteins as an estimate of immunity their results look like this:

Blood Serum Total Protein Values
Visit Date                                                       Dec16  Nov16 Oct16  Sep16  Jun16 Mar16
Number of reported values                             85        45        45        168      78        35       
Number of values at 4.5 or below                   0          0          0          2          0          0         
Number of values at 5.0 or below                   0          1          1          12        6          2         
Percent values 5.5 and greater                        91%     91%     98%     85%    92%     92%    
Average                                                           6.3       6.4       6.1       6.4       6.2       6.2      
Median                                                            6.2       6.4       6.0       6.4       6.1       6.1  

Bottom line is that feeding more IgG's results in more antibodies in the blood, period.  

  


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