Day 1 Feeding of Colostrum to Prevent FPT 02/24/12 10:16:34 AM

Day 1 Feeding of Colostrum to Prevent Failure of Passive Transfer (FPT)
The objective is to achieve the highest possible level of IgG in the calf’s blood so as to prevent “Failure of Passive Transfer” or FPT. FPT occurs when a calf has less than 10g of IgG per liter of blood (<10g/L) when it is 24 to 36 hours of age, by which time absorption of colostral ingredients from the intestine into the blood has stopped. Calves that have FPT are much more susceptible to becoming ill and dying than calves with serum IgG levels above 10g/L. Research has also shown that calves with even higher serum IgG levels have higher long term productivity, including weight gain and milk production as adults, as well as lower culling rates.
The Three Golden Rules of Colostrum Feeding – FPT can only be prevented by feeding colostrum during the first day of life. To get the greatest benefits from colostrum feeding follow the three golden rules summarized below.

  1. Quickly – Feed colostrum as soon after birth as possible and not later than 6 hours of age.
  2. Quality – Feed good quality colostrum that is:
    1. Safe – Free of all diseases that can be transmitted from the dam to her calf through contaminated colostrum, such as Johne’s Disease, salmonellosis, and tuberculosis (Link to Details).
    2. Potent – Having an IgG concentration >50g/L.
  3. Quantity The amount of colostrum that must be fed to prevent FPT varies with the time of feeding, the IgG concentration, and other factors including stress. To overcome the variation in calf serum IgG levels that results from these variables, it is often recommended that calves be fed 3 to 4 quarts of colostrum at the first feeding. Some producers will feed a similar amount at the second feeding. When using colostrum replacers or supplements, calves should be fed a minimum of 100g of IgG or globulin protein within the first 6 hours of life if fed by nipple, and a minimum of 150g of IgG or globulin protein if fed by tube. For higher long term productivity, we recommend feeding 1 1/2 to 2 times as much, or 150g to 200g of IgG or globulin protein within the first 6 to 12 hours of life.

When feeding products made by the Saskatoon Colostrum Company Ltd. please follow the instructions for use closely.
High Risk CalvesSome calves have a higher risk of developing Failure of Passive Transfer (FPT).  Those calves should be fed additional IgG as soon as possible. We recommend feeding high risk calves either:

  • 4 to 6 quarts of good quality colostrum, or
  • 150g to 200g of IgG given as any one of our colostrum products.

If a calf will not suck soon after birth, it should be fed with an oesophageal feeder before any more time passes. An attempt should be made to give high risk calves the same amount again within a few hours. It can be divided into several smaller feedings. Efforts should be made to encourage breathing and maintain body temperature levels. These calves should also be stimulated during feeding by rubbing them on the head, neck and thorax, and supported in an upright sitting position if they cannot stand.