Feeding heat-treated colostrum to neonatal dairy heifers: Effects on growth characteristics and blood parameters

J. A. Elizondo-Salazar, A. J. Heinrichs

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43 Scopus citations


Newborn Holstein heifer calves were studied to compare absorption of immunoglobulin G (IgG1 and IgG2), total serum protein concentration, lymphocyte counts, health scores, growth, and starter intake after receiving unheated or heat-treated colostrum. First-milking colostrum was collected from Holstein cows and frozen at -20°C to accumulate a large batch. After thawing and mixing, half of the colostrum was transferred into 1.89-L plastic containers and frozen at -20°C until needed for feeding. The remaining half was heated at 60°C for 30 min, transferred into 1.89-L plastic containers, and then frozen at -20°C until needed for feeding. Forty heifer calves weighing ≥32 kg at birth were enrolled into 1 of 2 treatment groups before suckling occurred. For the first feeding, 3.8 L of colostrum was bottle fed by 1.5 to 2 h of age. For the second and third feedings, pasteurized whole milk at 5% of birth body weight (BW) was fed. Subsequently, calves received milk replacer containing 20% crude protein and 20% fat at 10% of birth BW/d until wk 5. Milk replacer was reduced to 1 feeding of 5% birth BW until weaning at 6 wk of age. Blood samples and growth data were collected through wk 8. Batch heat-treatment of colostrum at 60°C for 30 min lowered colostrum bacteria concentration while maintaining colostral IgG concentration and viscosity. Calves fed heat-treated colostrum had significantly greater IgG concentrations at 24 h and greater apparent efficiency of IgG absorption (IgG = 23.4 g/L; apparent efficiency of absorption = 33.2%) compared with calves fed unheated colostrum (IgG = 19.6 g/L; apparent efficiency of absorption = 27.7%). There was no difference between treatment groups in growth measurements, calf starter intake, lymphocyte counts, or health scores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3265-3273
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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