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15. Colostrum Management

Dr. Karl also discusses Chuck's management practices and how they might be updated. He stresses the importance of a good colostrum management program and ensuring that calves receive the highest quality colostrum at birth.

Key components to a colostrum management program:


  1. Quality: Give high quality colostrum containing 50 mg/ml of IgG or with a specific gravity of > 1.010 using a colostrometer.
  2. Quantity: Give 4 liters of colostrum at the first feeding to achieve a serum immunoglobulin level of >1000mg/100ml, which can be tested 24 hours after feeding using an immunoglobulin snap-test.  The snap-test measures the levels of immunoglobulins in the calves' blood. 
  3. Promptness: Feed colostrum within the first 2–6 hours of life.
  4. Cleanliness: Use fresh colostrum, collected by using clean milking technique and equipment, in order to minimize bacterial contamination.


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Search the Internet for “colostrometer” for more detail on this instrument.