Effect of method and time of first colostrum feeding on serum immunoglobulin concentration, health status and body weight gain in mithun (Bos frontalis) calves

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Abstract

The effect of method and time of first colostrum feeding on the concentration of serum immunoglobulin (Ig) was evaluated in mithun (Bos frontalis) calves. The hypotheses were that the variable method and time of first colostrum feeding might affect the level of serum Ig and in turn the growth performance and health status of the claves during the early age. The newborn calves were randomly allotted to one of the four experimental groups – G-1: allowed to suckle the dam at own choice, G-2: separated immediately after birth and allowed to suckle the dam first at 6 h and then at own choice, G-3: bottle fed ad libitum colostrum of its own dam first at 6 h and then at 6-h intervals until 24 h, G-4: bottle fed ad libitum colostrum of its own dam within 1 h, at 6 h and then at 6-h intervals until 24 h. The concentrations of IgG, IgM, and IgA were lowest (p < 0.01) at birth and increased following colostrum feeding irrespective of the experimental group. Highest concentrations of all the Ig classes were observed at 12–24 h after birth. The concentrations then transiently decreased from day 7 to 14, and then steadily increased after day 28. The concentrations of IgG (p < 0.01) and IgA (p < 0.05) were higher in G-1 in relation to the other groups during the first week after birth. Similarly, higher concentration of IgA (p < 0.05) was found in G-1 in relation to the other groups during the rest of the experimental period. The apparent absorption efficiency of colostral IgG was higher (p < 0.05) in G-4 in relation to G-3. Growth rate and health status were not influenced by the method and time of first colostrum feeding. In conclusion, a 6-h delay in the first colostrum feeding reduced the level of serum Ig noticeably.

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