Milk intake before first colostrum in newborn dairy calves. Effect on intestinal transmission of macromolecules.

Abstract

The aim of this experiment was to investigate if ingestion of non-colostrum milk before first colostrum by calves impaired intestinal transmission of macromolecules from colostrum fed to calves 8, 16, and 24 h later. This design reflects the situation when calves are born in housing systems where the cow and her newborn calf are not separated from the herd, which gives the calf opportunity to suckle cows other than the mother. Two groups of eight calves each were fed pooled colostrum three times at 8, 16, and 24 h of age. One of the groups were fed non-colostrum milk 30 min after birth. Marker molecules were used to estimate absorption from each colostrum feeding. Blood samples were taken 8 h after each feeding and at 1 wk of age. At no time was there any significant difference between the plasma IgG means of the two groups. There was no difference in transmission of the marker molecules. It was concluded that early ingestion of non-colostrum milk before first colostrum does not change intestinal permeability to colostral macromolecules.

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