December Calf Blog 2019

Colostrum Freezing and Thawing Process

So the last 2 blogs have been written around Colostrum, the liquid gold!

So, I would like to continue with the topic of Colostrum and discuss the freezing and thawing process.

As you know, colostrum is an excellent source of nutrition and immune proteins that transport protection to the calf.  Because colostrum is so important to the newborn calf, producers need to have options if the cow doesn’t have enough colostrum or the quality isn’t met.  Storing colostrum is one of those options of maintaining a “Colostrum Bank”.

Refrigerating Colostrum: Colostrum can be refrigerated for 1 week before the IgG concentration quality decreases.  Often times you may need to make sure your refrigerator is at the correct temperature.  Set a thermometer in the refrigerator to make sure it holds a temperature of 33-35 F.  Colostrum needs to be chilled as soon as possible to reduce the chance of bacteria growth.  IgG protein molecules will degrade significantly by bacteria growth.  This will reduce the chance for the newborn calf to absorb the IgG’s provided through clean colostrum.

How about freezing: Colostrum can be frozen for up to a year.  Frost Free is not desirable as the freezer goes through freeze-thaw cycles which can change the storage life of good quality colostrum.

Freeze colostrum in 1 gallon or 2 qt. freezer bags (colostrum bags are desired) lay bags flat in the freezer and maintain a temperature of -5F.

Now let’s focus on the thawing process: Our main goal is to thaw the colostrum slowly without destroying the immune protein IgG’s.  The best method is to warm the colostrum to 120F, massaging the bag periodically will help with thawing a bit faster.

The First Nurse Colostrum Pasteurizer/Warmer can help with thawing your colostrum faster.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season!


November Calf Blog

Minimizing Bacteria Replication

So last month I focused on Colostrum and the importance of IgG’s.  I am going to go a step further and discuss the bacteria load and the importance of minimizing the bacteria replication.

The importance of early feeding of colostrum to the young calf is critical to protecting the gut of the calf as well as providing immune protection.  But, there is another reason to feed colostrum early.  Delayed colostrum feeding when the colostrum has been milked from the cow means that the bacteria and other pathogens in colostrum will be allowed to grow.  Referencing the growth of bacteria research from University of California, Davis showed that when colostrum was left at room temperature for any period of time the growth of bacteria was overwhelming.  Within 6 hours, the number of bacteria in the colostrum well exceeded 10 million per milliliter.  Our goal is under 10,000.  This amount of bacteria fed to the calf will untimely affect the health of the calf significantly or even cause death.  This is where the importance of IgG’s and either feeding the colostrum ASAP or chilling/freezing the colostrum comes into play.  All of the steps within the first 2-4 hours after birth are very critical.  I always tell producers; You only get this chance ONCE and then it’s gone.  SO do it well.

Colostrum and other milk products are excellent growth media for bacteria.  Unless the cow calves with mastitis or another infection, there should be little contamination of colostrum.  Be sure to minimize contamination of milk from the cow by using clean milking equipment, collection equipment, and feeding equipment.  If your colostrum is sitting more than one hour consider pasteurizing your colostrum milk.  When pasteurizing colostrum, the steps before and after are just as critical as the proper feeding of the calf.

Check out our user friendly, easy to use: First Nurse Colostrum Pasteurizer/Warmer to help with your colostrum pasteurizing needs.

October Calf Blog

The Importance of Colostrum

Colostrum Feeding Primer
So, what’s so special about Colostrum?  First, it’s the first milk produced
from the cow directly after calving.  Not 4 hours after, not 12 hours after but directly after calving.  The more time that elapses after calving she
starts what I call the dilution effect.  She starts producing milk for
Now as I stated this is the first milk, I call it “Liquid Gold”.  The other facet is you only get this opportunity ONCE to feed this high quality milk to the calf asap after calving.  So what is so special about this “Liquid Gold”
product?  Colostrum and transitional milk differ markedly from milk in
composition, physical properties and the function. Colostrum contains
much larger amounts of solids, proteins and immunoglobulins.  Colostral Immunoglobulins or antibodies are proteins critical to the identifying
and destroying pathogens in the calf. 
There are three types of Ig in colostrum.  IgG, IgM and IgA.  There is also
two isotypes of Ig, IgG1 & IgG2.  These Ig work together to provide the calf with passive immunity until the calf’s own active immunity develops. 
Colostrum contains 70-80% IgG, 10-155 IgM, and 10-15% IgA.  Most of the
IgG in bovine colostrum is IgG2. Each Ig has a different role in the
animal.  IgG is the most prevalent in colostrum and serum.  It’s primary
role is to identify and help destroy invading pathogens. 
Because it is smaller than other Ig, it can move out of the blood stream
and make its way into other body pools where it helps identify
pathogens.  IgM is the antibody that serves as a first line of defense in
cases of septicemia.  IgM is a large molecule that stays in the blood stream and protects against bacterial invasion.  IgA protects mucosal surfaces
such as the intestines.  It attaches to the intestinal lining and prevents
pathogens from attaching and causing disease. Feeding colostrum for 3
days after birth is a great idea.  That provides IgA to both the gut and
protect against pathogens.  Colostrum contains large amounts of IgG and smaller amounts of IgM and IgA.  All three Ig are important to the calf
and are necessary to minimize the chances of disease or even death. 
However, it is important to remember the Ig are only one part of the
calf’s immune system.  Proper nutrition, minimizing stress factors and a
clean environment also helps keep calves healthy. Look to our First Nurse Colostrum Pasteurizer/Warmer to help maintain a clean colostrum
product to your calf. -Minnie

September Calf Blog

Back to School!

It’s Back to School Time!
For some of us it’s a time to appreciate the young adults we have around us.  The extra help we had for the last few months is going back to
So how do you replace their time? Even though some of these kids are in grade school they still have a purpose.  Usually to help with calves, bedding, feeding and or even driving tractors.  It seems like a minimal task but yet they are a valuable asset to us. I will miss my girls as they start a new school year as they help quite a bit with chores.  It’s even better when
they get to the age you can trust their decisions and feel comfortable leaving them in charge for a day. 
“In Charge” now that’s a term!  These farm kids truly know the value of
getting things done and accomplishing a task.  They put pride into what
they do.I recently was on a farm with a Mom and her 8th grade son.  He
clearly didn’t like the duties his Mom had laid out for him yet he put his
head down and went to work.  How many of us as adults feel the same
way some days, right? 
What I do know is that with some of the equipment we have today to feed our calves with, the task of a grueling job becomes one of pleasure and
even somewhat of a fun event. 
Let’s take one piece of equipment that we carry in our line of Calf Feeding Equipment, The Milk Taxi.  Our daughter the other night was in charge of feeding calves.  She knows that level #1 is for young calves under 7 days
of age and calves that are being weaned, level #2 is for the calves 7-21
days and level #3 is for all older calves.  We have the Electric Drive on our Milk Taxi which makes it easy to move around the farm.  Now what kid
wouldn’t want to help feed calves! 
When feeding is done and the Milk Taxi is rinsed, we put it into a wash
cycle where we are confident everything is getting cleaned.  Now how
much fun is that! My October blog will focus on preparing for colder
weather.  See you at World Dairy Expo where we will have on hand: Calf
Jackets and our newest Colostrum Pasteurizer the First-Nurse Colostrum Pasteurizer. -Minnie