Why is colostrum so important?
Colostrum is important for the passive transfer of immunity to newborn animals.
It’s critical that newborns receive high quality colostrum in the first 12-24 hours after birth to maximise the absorption of immunoglobulins (antibodies) directly into their bloodstream.
Immunoglobulin Gs (IgGs) comprise the largest fraction of antibodies in colostrum. IgG content is a critical factor when assessing the quality of colostrum.
IgGs pass through the walls of the gut to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
The window for optimal passive transfer of immunity is about 24 hours; after which the walls of the gut close and IgG can no longer directly enter the bloodstream.
Access to high quality colostrum is critical for optimal passive transfer of immunity.
Failure of Passive Transfer (FPT) occurs when a baby animal fails to obtain or absorb adequate quantities of IgG antibodies from colostrum in the first 24 hours of life – making it susceptible to disease and death. And affecting long term productivity.
How much colostrum is needed?
Feed a minimum of 10% of the birth weight of the young animal as liquid colostrum in the first 12 hours of life.
Ideally colostrum should be fed in a minimum of 2 or up to 4 feeds and it should be high-quality – ie IgG levels of 15% or more, high fat and high protein.