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Colostrum Feeding Schedule

Colostrum Feeding Schedule

Colostrum feeding is crucial for the health of calves. Here are some advice on feeding colostrum in the first 3 days.

Within 1 hour of calving

  • The first colostrum feed will determine the calf's resistance to disease during the first week of its life.

  • This absorption capacity for antibodies is the highest in calves during the first hour after birth and it decreases over time.

  • It is recommended to feed 4 litres of colostrum within 1 hour of calving.

  • Quality of the colostrum must be checked for concentration of antibodies and purity.

  • Colostrum temperature is best being fed as close as possible to the calf's body temperature.

Within 24 hours

  • After a good first feed, the calf should be able to start coping on its own.

  • The second feed should be given 12 hours after the first.

  • If calf drank 4 litres in its first feed, about 2 litres of colostrum is good enough for second feed.

  • Do not force calves when giving second feed.

  • 4-6 litres is enough for day one.

Day 2 - 3

  • On day 2 - 3, feed 2 times 3 litres of transition milk - milk following the colostrum.

  • This should be given using a rearing bucket with a teat at 70cm height if possible.

  • During the first days especially, the sucking action of calf has a positive effect on the digestion of milk and enzyme production.

  • Milk is best to be at temperature close to the body temperature of calf. Hence, it is important to drink quickly rather than let it cool down.

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