*Why colostrum is cru­cial

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Down On The Farm -

Colostrum is pro­duced by the cow up un­til the time of birth. Calves do not re­ceive an­ti­bod­ies from their moth­ers in the womb (un­like hu­man ba­bies) and must have early feeds of colostrum to re­ceive the an­ti­bod­ies they re­quire to thrive in the en­vi­ron­ment into which they're born.

The an­ti­bod­ies from the colostrum are ab­sorbed di­rectly into the blood­stream from the calf's in­testines, but only for a lim­ited time. Some sources in­sist that the time-frame is only dur­ing the first 24 hours, oth­ers sug­gest the abil­ity can con­tinue, to a re­duced and de­creas­ing ex­tent, for up to 36 hours.

If a calf never fed in the first cou­ple of days, ob­vi­ously you'd still give it colostrum when you found it, but if you're watch­ing a calf which hasn't fed in the first few hours af­ter birth, it's best to get in and help within 6-12 hours and make sure it has another lot within the fol­low­ing 12 hours. You prob­a­bly won't get more than a cou­ple of litres into a new­born calf at a time, so go back three or four times to make sure it gets the best start pos­si­ble.

Colostrum can be frozen for up to a year, so keep­ing some in the freezer is a use­ful back­stop. Al­ways thaw it care­fully to avoid dam­ag­ing the an­ti­body con­tent, which means slowly and gen­tly in a dou­ble boiler on an el­e­ment (so it doesn't ac­ci­den­tally get scorched), not in the mi­crowave, and don't let it get too hot.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.