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Timely colostrum tips

Christopher Clark and Patrick Gunn for Progressive Cattleman Published on 23 December 2016

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Bovine antibodies are not readily transferred across the placenta but rather are concentrated in the udder as colostrum during late gestation. Therefore, calves are born almost completely unprotected from infectious disease and must ingest colostrum in order to receive passive immunity from the dam.

To ensure adequate absorption, calves must receive colostrum within the first 24 hours of life. As calves age, the intestines lose the ability to absorb large molecules like the IgG antibody proteins. Additionally, colostrum contains abundant energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, water and warmth – all extremely important for newborn calves.  

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