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3 Qs of Colostrum Management

3 Qs Of Colostrum Management: Quantity, Quality and Quickly

Colostrum is vital to the health of a calf. It contains the necessary antibodies, also known as immunoglobulins or IgG to provide immunity and it's also rich in essential nutrients to provide energy for growth.


  • The recommendation is to give the first feed of 3 litres or 10% of body weight. After that, it should be followed up with another similar size feed within 12 hours of birth.

  • The colostrum should be fed at body temperature - 38°C.


  • A high quality colostrum contains a minimum of 50g/L of lgG. Any colostrum containing less than 20g/L of lgG should not be used.

  • The longer the colostrum is being held in the udder, the lower the quality of the colostrum as it becomes more dilute with time. Ideally, it should be held less than 6 hours in the udder.

  • Quality of colostrum cannot be observed with the naked eye. It must be tested.

  • Test colostrum from all cows. Ensure that the cows are milked as soon as they finish calving to get the best possible colostrum and feed it to newborn calves.

  • The quality of colostrum will decline as it becomes contaminated with bacteria.

  • It is also recommended to have a good supply of high quality frozen colostrum from cows of known health status as they can be used if the dam's own colostrum is not of sufficient quality.


  • The first feed of colostrum should be given to new born calf as soon as possible after birth, preferably within the first hour, and not later than 6 hours. Hand feeding is encouraged rather than natural suckling.

  • The efficiency of antibody absorption from the colostrum declines rapidly from over 40% at birth to less than 5% by 20 hours.

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