Three female and three male unsuckled newborn Holstein calves were tube-fed pooled colostrum and fresh colostrum respectively at a mean dose of 81.1 ml per kg birth weight at about six hours of age. The pre-colostral mean total serum immunoglobulin gradually increased from 0.07 mg per ml to 31.73 mg per ml by one day of age. IgG1, IgG2, IgG and IgM gradually increased to maximum concentrations by one day of age. IgA was higher in the 14 hour than in the 24 hour sample due to catabolic loss. The pre-colostral packed cell volume (PCV) of 41.83 per cent significantly (P less than 0.05) decreased to 37.17 per cent 18 hours after intubation. The pre-ruminant rumen of the newborn calf can empty itself efficiently and adequate intestinal absorption of colostral proteins can take place before closure sets in. Normogammaglobulinaemia can be established in almost all normal calves and neonatal morbidity and mortality reduced by force-feeding newborn calves with good quality colostrum immediately after birth.
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