In this section, you can ask me questions about anything
related to the newborn calf. From the time the calf is born and
gets its first important feeding of colostrum until it is weaned
off milk. Of course you can also ask anything about the
Question: How long can colostrum be stored in refrigerators and
Science shows that there is a significant growth in
bacteria for colostrum stored in a refrigerator compared with a
freezer. In a freezer colostrum can be stored for 1 year without
damage, in a refrigerator it is recommended not to store for more
than 24 hours.
Colostrum samples collected from 67 herds in USA
showed that only 19 % of colostrum stored in refrigerators for 24
hours were acceptable for calf feeding, the rest of the samples
contained more than 100.000 bacteria.
Using a freezer for storing colostrum is not
synonymous with a low bacteria count and there should be focus on
hygiene all the way from collection to feeding of colostrum.
Question: Why can the calf not just suckle from its mother
which is the most natural method of feeding?
Through many years of breeding the dairy cows udder
anatomy and colostrum has changed significant compared with the
"natural dairy cow". The consequences of that have meant that if
the calf only suckles from the cow there will, regardless of IgG
content, be a substantial percentage of calves who will not be
immunized sufficiently. Even in herds where the calf is helped with
suckling there will be up to 60 % who do not have enough IgG in the
blood to be efficiently protected against disease. It remains your
choice if allow the calf only to suckle from cows however then you
at the same time choose a random outcome regarding immunization
By correct manual allocation of colostrum nothing
will be left to random circumstances.
Spørgsmål: You advise that the calf should have colostrum as
fast as possible, how fast is that?
The faster the calf gets colostrum the more
antibodies it will absorb. The calves intestine cells are immature
at birth and at that time the antibodies, which are proteins, will
be able to pass directly from intestine to blood without being
degraded to amino acids first. As soon as the calf is born
the intestine start aging and the absorption rate decreases
rapidly. It means that the faster the calf gets its colostrum -
preferably within 2 hours, the more antibodies will be absorbed and
the stronger the immune defense will become.
Recording the time in the colostrum journal makes
it possible to assess if the time for feeding colostrum is
acceptable or if the procedure need extra attention. You can find
colostrum journals ready to print here: - Click here.
Christine Maria Røntved
CMR On-Site RD.
With primary training in
Veterinary Medicine, Christine continued her studies to obtain a
PhD in Immunology and Pathology. She was a professor at the
University of Folum and now, she is an independent consultant,
specializing in calf care.