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 6.2Median 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.