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THE IMPORTANCE OF COLOSTRUM                                                               The Midwest Cattleman · February 24, 2022 · P9

      Don’t idle, be prepared for calving season with colostrum.
      By Mark Z. Johnson, Oklahoma State University Extension

         Being ready and prepared  the large protein molecules  newborn calf, the
      before the start of calving  that make up the various  “best practice” is
      season can make life much  immunoglobulins. Fresh co- to thaw in a warm
      easier for cow-calf producers  lostrum can be stored in one- water bath at 122
      and potentially save a calf.   quart doses by putting that  degrees               Fahren-
      By the time calving season  much in a gallon-size Zip- heit  for  one  hour.
      starts, you need everything  loc bag. Lay the bags flat to  Avoid thawing at
      on hand that might be neces- freeze in the freezer.  When  room  temperature
      sary and all equipment and  the time comes to thaw the
      facilities  in working  order.   colostrum and feed it to the           continued on page 12
      Operators need several doses
      of colostrum or colostrum re-
      placer on inventory before
      the start of spring-calving
         Adequate colostrum in-
      take  is  extremely  crucial
      for newborn calves in order
      to  gain  passive  immunity.
      Calves born after a prolonged
      delivery through the pelvic
      canal can suffer from severe
      respiratory acidosis. Such
      calves are less efficient at
      absorbing colostral immuno-
      globulins or antibodies even
      if artificially fed colostrum.
      The only disease protection
      baby calves will receive is
      from the passive transfer of
      antibodies from  the  colos-
      trum they ingest. Colostrum
      also contains transferrin and
      lactoferrin, which bind iron
      and restrict bacterial growth.
      These factors, together with
      immunoglobulins, help limit
      growth of bacteria in the gut.
         Colostrum or colostrum
      replacer  will  need  to  be ad-
      ministered by bottle suck-
      ling or tube feeding within
      a few hours of birth for max-
      imal  absorption  of immu-
      noglobulins.    The  general
      rule of thumb is the sooner
      colostrum is ingested the
      better and calves will typi-
      cally stand, walk, and nurse
      within one hour after birth.
      Bottomline: if there is any
      question of whether a calf
      has received adequate colos-
      trum, then colostrum should
      be administered immediate-
      ly to the newborn.   Calves
      that miss getting timely co-
      lostrum ingestion  are  much
      more likely to suffer from
      calf scours, which can have
      lifelong effects on general
      hardiness and disease resis-
         Previously obtained co-
      lostrum must be kept frozen
      to protect the integrity of
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