QUIZ: Which colostrum is best to feed new born calves?

Choose A, B, C or D from below and then check your answer by clicking below.
A – All are ok to feed new born calves.
B – Cow 1 or 3 as heifers don’t provide good colostrum.
C – Cow 2 will have the best colostrum as she’s most recently calved.
D – Cow 1 as she has the highest milk production.

Answer: Click to expand
  • Which colostrum is best to feed new born calves?

    Cow 2’s colostrum has the highest BRIX level. BRIX estimates antibody level. Ideal antibody level for feeding new born calves is 22% or more. This scenario shows that the antibody level drops dramatically with each milking after calving. It demonstrates that colostrum from the third milking has much lower antibody levels than the first milking colostrum, and is not high enough to provide good immunity to new born calves.

    A BRIX refractometer can easily and quickly estimate if colostrum is adequate for new born calves right at the cow side. Add a drop of milk to the BRIX plate, close the cover, then read the level (blue line) through the eye piece.

    Heifers are often thought to provide poor quality colostrum but they actually often provide colostrum with very good antibody levels. In contrast high producing cows with larger volumes of colostrum may actually have lower antibody levels as the antibodies are more diluted. This is not always the case though and in reality antibody level in colostrum is HIGHLY VARIABLE between cows. Factors such as breed, age, cow condition, length of dry period, milk volume and vaccination history all affect colostrum quality.

    The best way to know whether your newborn calves will be protected from disease is by testing and using colostrum that meets the target of 22% BRIX. Colostrum below this level is still a great feed source for calves older than 24 hours, after their first two feeds. BRIX refractometers are available to buy at the Anexa or members can drop in colostrum samples for free testing.

For further information call into the clinic or contact your Anexa Vet.

Date Added: Wednesday, 3rd July 2019