Google Maps location for Wollaston Clinic

Wollaston Clinic
59 Mortlake Rd
Warrnambool
VIC 3280

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Phone:
03 5561 6911
Fax:
03 5565 1495

Timboon Clinic
99 Bailey St
Timboon
VIC 3268

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Phone:
03 5558 6666
Fax:
03 5598 3561

Allansford Clinic
260 Ziegler Parade
Allansford
VIC 3277

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Phone:
03 5561 6911
Fax:
03 5565 1495

Simpson Clinic
190 Barramul St
Simpson
VIC 3266

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Phone:
03 5558 6666
Fax:
03 5598 3561

Maximising the benefits of Colostrum for new born calves

Calves are born with no natural protection from disease and it can take 3 to 4 weeks for them to develop their own antibodies. One of the best ways to protect your calves during this time, is to give them colostrum ─ the first milk produced by the cow or heifer after she has calved. Colostrum contains the antibodies that a calf needs to fight disease and infection in early life.

To maximise the benefits your calves receive from colostrum, you need to focus on three key factors:

  • timing - give it quickly
  • quality - measure the quality
  • quantity - give them enough

Timing - when to give colostrum

The quicker the better! A calf’s ability to absorb antibodies from the gut declines rapidly after birth. The optimum time for absorption of these important antibodies is the first 12 hours of a calf’s life.

Quality - the antibody concentration

The concentration of antibodies in colostrum can vary greatly. It is important to measure the quality of available colostrum so your calves receive the correct volume for good passive transfer of immunity. You can measure colostrum quality with an instrument called a Brix refractometer. This is a good investment at $45 and is available from The Vet Group.

Quantity - correct amount of colostrum

The amount of colostrum to feed depends on the quality of the colostrum available. Good quality colostrum has a higher concentration of antibodies so less is needed for good passive transfer of immunity. When using a Brix refractometer to measure the quality of colostrum use the quantities recommended in The Vet Group’s CalfWise Field Guide. The Guide also points out that after 12 hours a single feed of colostrum is never enough.

 

For further information on colostrum management, Brix refractometers or other calf related products call The Vet Group Farm Services 1300 838 700 to speak to one of our CalfWise veterinarians.

Products available from shop.thevetgroup.com.au or you may like to view our Perfect Udder videos.

 

Feeding colostrum quickly is the single most important factor in ensuring calves gain adequate immunity.

CalfWise Field Guide

 

Colostrum quality rapidly declines in the udder after calving. Pick up fresh cows twice daily and milk out as soon as possible after calving. This will help ensure the best possible colostrum is collected and fed to newborn calves.

CalfWise Field Guide