Whenever colostrum gets mentioned inevitably the question arises, “What happens to the calf? Do the little baby calves get what they need?” and I am here to tell you . . . YES! Absolutely, they get what they require to not only sustain themselves but to thrive.
There is a considerable body of scientific evidence showing that if a calf fails to receive an adequate quantity of high quality complete colostrum, it will be more vulnerable to pathogens in its environment and will not develop a proper body mass. The impact of inadequate colostrum intake during the first hours of life on the survival and health of calves was studied in more than 2,200 animals over a five year period by the United Kingdom National Agricultural Center Calf Unit. What they found was the calves that received only a small amount of colostrum were six times more likely to die than those that received the required two quarts. If the animals that received a small amount of colostrum survived, they were ill almost three times as often as the calves that got enough colostrum. Getting enough high quality colostrum is essential to the health and well being of the calf and failure to do so will follow the animal for the rest of its life.
So take a look at it from a dairy farmers perspective, the calf is a future milker, assuming a heifer calf. That is how a dairy farmer makes their money by having the healthiest producers they can, how do they get them? Easy, they start with 2 quarts of colostrum. We then take the remainder. We hope this article has helped answer some questions that may arise and want you to know that the calves get the colostrum first!