1. Check the colostrum quality using a refractometer

  • Make sure the stage is clean before use
  • Place 2 drops of colostrum as shown in diagram below
  • Close the plastic cover, hold up to the light and read value through the eyepiece
  • Value is read as the line between the blue and white sections
  • Only colostrum with readings of >22% should be fed to calves
  • Save colostrum (by preservation/freezing) from cows with high scores, scores may be improved by vaccinating cows.
  • Clean stage with water and dry before next sample 

IMPORTANT: 22% or higher is GOOD. 21% of less is POOR

2. Feed calves colostrum as soon after birth as possible

  • By 12 hours old at the latest 
  • Pick calves up from paddocks twice daily or feed and mark in paddocks to ensure this can happen

3. Calves require a minimum of 10% of their bodyweight

  • A 25kg calf requires a minimum of 2.5L good quality colostrum
  • A 35kg calf requires a minimum of 3.5L good quality colostrum
  • A 45kg calf requires a minimum of 4.5L good quality colostrum

* split feeds of >2L into separate feeds and give 2-4 hours apart

4. Make sure all equipment for delivering colostrum is CLEAN