Colostrum Revisited

     Most cow-calf producers are aware of the importance of colostrum to the immediate health and immunity of newborn calves.  

     Colostrum does more than just help prevent disease in young calves.  There is now evidence colostrum has a long-term impact on health—and the effects persist well into the productive years.  Colostrum transfer is one of the best indicators of how your calves will perform as they reach maturity.

     In addition to the immune factors in colostrum, research indicates there are also concentrated hormones present which influence feed and reproductive efficiency, gain, appetite and how the animal perceives stress long-term.


      Calves that experience scours or respiratory disease at a young age rarely reach their full genetic potential and do not do well as calves or adults. When calves are treated for early respiratory disease before three months of age, they are more likely to die at an early age and to have more calving problems later in life.  As adult’s both males and females exhibit lower reproductive performance. Then too, the use of antibiotics has deleterious long-term effects on feed efficiency. 

Bottom line:  Savvy herdsman know that calves sick at an early age —even if they respond well to treatment—never catch up and should be culled from the herd as soon as feasible and not considered as prospective future replacement. 

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