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For the second year, RUMA (Responsible Use of Medicines in Animals) is promoting the “Colostrum Is Gold” campaign with the support of its members. It aims to reduce antibiotic use on farms by ensuring good colostrum intake. There is a strong link between good intake at birth and better health with good natural immunity. This means less disease, and less need for antibiotics, especially important as some of the most effective pneumonia drugs are now having the spotlight shone on them.
Calves: Give a first feed of 10% of bodyweight within 4 hours of birth; this should then be followed up by a further 2 litres within 12 hours of birth. A calf requires approximately 20 minutes of continuous suckling to consume enough colostrum from the cow at the first feed.
Lambs: Rule of thumb is 210–290 ml/kg body weight, so a 5kg lamb at birth needs 1 litre of colostrum in its first 24 hours of life, but importantly, the first feed should be within 2 hours of birth.
If you need more information, facts, scientific papers, case studies or helpful videos and podcasts on managing colostrum better, visit www.FarmAntibiotics.org where there is a bank of useful resources and ideas.