Calf Care Quick Tip: Colostrum Cubes

Posted on April 28, 2014 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
Shared by Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist
Colostrum cubes are a convenient way to add immunoglobulins and other growth factors naturally found in colostrum to increase calf gut health without the use of antibiotics.  Colostrum cubes are low-cost and can be produced with items already on the farm.  I use colostrum cubes with calves that have experienced a rough start or if I am working with a farm that experiences considerable calf health challenges at 7 to 14 days of age.

The key to making colostrum cubes is to sanitarily harvest high quality colostrum from cows that have been vaccinated for rotavirus and coronavirus.  The colostrum should be heat-treated (we do not want to dose calves with bacteria).  Apply non-stick vegetable spray to ice-cube trays (this will help you remove the cubes later), pour in the colostrum and put them in the freezer.

Add two colostrum cubes to each calf’s milk meal for the first 10 to 14 days.  The colostrum cube will melt quickly and release its contents into the milk.  By purchasing numerous ice cube trays, the colostrum cubes can be mass-produced and stored in the freezer until needed.  An article published in the Journal of Dairy Science (Berge et al., 2009) demonstrated supplemental colostrum feeding during the first two weeks of life can reduce diarrheal disease in pre-weaned calves.  Give colostrum cubes a try!

Category: Colostrum management
Starting Strong - Calf Care