Calf health

Improve colostrum quality with yeast cell wall components

Supplying colostrum to calves directly after birth is crucial, since this forms the foundation for good health. A dairy farm had good experiences with using yeast cell wall components.

After using specific yeast cell wall components in dry cow feed, the quality of colostrum improved significantly at a dairy farm in the Uplengen municipality. Now the colostrum spindle shows a much higher content of immunoglobulins. The starting situation at the farm was as follows:

  • Easy births, good and fast intake of the colostrum
  • From the second day on, reluctance to drink and increasing weakness
  • From the fourth day on, diarrhoea/fever/infections
  • Treatments (antibiotics, etc.) were usually unsuccessful

Improved colostrum quality with special lick

Different antibiotics and feed supplements were unsuccessful. Then a test of the colostrum with the help of a spindle provided a clear result: the colostrum quality was inadequate. Subsequently, the dry cows were supplied with a lick containing special yeast cell wall components and the colostrum continued to be tested. Just a few weeks later, the quality improved and gradually moved into the green zone of the colostrum spindle. The health of the calves also improved as the calf losses rapidly declined. Although treatments continued to be applied, they were mostly preventive to maintain the health status and support the calves.

Yeast cell wall components have already been used for a long period in the rearing of ewes. Scientific tests in England showed that the amount of immunoglobulins could be increased by about 25 per cent if the ewes were provided with this supplement in the last six weeks of their pregnancy.

Colostrum tester
The quality of the colostrum is measured with the aid of a colostrum spindle.

Evaluate colostrum with a spindle

Dairy farmers know that supplying colostrum to newborns directly after birth is crucial. About three to four litres are required. This recommendation is based on the finding that the colostrum in cows contains an average of about 70 grams of immunoglobulins per litre and that the calf requires at least 200 grams.

It must be kept in mind, however, that the fluctuations of the immunoglobulin content in colostrum are very high, regardless of the cows’ age. In the best case, good colostrum provides up to 200 grams of immunoglobulins/litre. In the worst case, the content is less than 20 grams. And it seems to be the case that the quality of the colostrum has generally declined in recent years. In any case, it is therefore advisable to evaluate the colostrum with a spindle. Hint: If the colostrum quality is inadequate, a tube of Miravit Oramun Plus helps a calf back on its feet.

Colostrum tester
The colostrum quality increased significantly after using special yeast cell wall components.

Use of lick and evaluation of the rearing

Now the yeast cell wall components are available in lick format with Crystalyx Trockensteher LIN to administer ad libitum to cows in the dry phase. The rearing of the dry cows should also be critically tested in this context:

  • Treat hoof and metabolism diseases
  • Prevent udder infections
  • Offer enough space (10 square meters/animal)
  • Clean litter, avoid fungus in the feed
  • Clean water from multiple troughs
  • Avoid stress (crowding, not enough feed areas, etc.)