Objective—To determine the effect of time interval from birth to first colostrum feeding on colostrum intake and serum IgG concentration and the effect of varying colostral volume intake and colostral IgG concentration on the probability of failure of passive transfer (FPT) in bottle-fed calves.
Design—Randomized controlled study.
Procedures—Equal numbers of calves were randomly assigned to groups and fed 3 L of their dam's colostrum at 1, 2, 3, or 4 hours after birth by use of a nipple bottle. Calves were allowed to feed for 15 minutes, and intake was recorded. A second 3-L bottle feeding of colostrum was offered at 12 hours of age.
Results—17.2% of calves ingested 3 L of colostrum at the first feeding and 3 L at 12 hours of age. Calf age, up to 4 hours, had no significant effect on the calf's ability to ingest colostrum or on 48-hour serum IgG concentration. Colostral intake at 1, 2, 3, or 4 hours had no effect on intake at the second feeding. Probability of FPT in calves ingesting 3 L at both feedings was < 0.05.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Allowing calves fed by nipple bottle to ingest as much colostrum as they can within 4 hours after birth and at 12 hours of age substantially reduced the probability of FPT. Bottle-fed calves that do not ingest 3 L of colostrum within the first 4 hours after birth should be targeted for oroesophageal intubation.