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Tips for colostrum management

04 February 2022
Beef Cattle Research Council

The Beef Cattle Research Council of Canada offers tips for success

It is crucial for producers to observe newborn calves to make sure they have received colostrum and to intervene if necessary.

According to Canada's Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), there are a number of ways to tell if a calf has sucked. Beef producers can check the calf's suckle reflex by sticking their fingers in the calf's mouth, for example. If the suckle reflex is weak, the calf needs to be supplemented with colostrum. 

Another way to tell if a calf has sucked is to check if any of the cow's teats have been suckled. Beef producers can also feel the calf's belly to see if it is full. Finally, they can look at the calf's hooves to see if the rubbery capsule has been worn off, which indicates the calf has been standing.

"If you think a calf hasn't nursed, supplement with at least 2L of good quality colostrum ideally 2-4 hours, and no later than 24hrs after birth," said BCRC. 

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