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Take Care With Colostrum Replacers

1 February 2017

pouring and mixing bovine colostrum mixture in bucket

There are two different types of colostrum products on the market

Colostrum Supplements

  • Colostrum supplements. These are designed to “top up” calves and lambs who for one reason or another may not have received sufficient from suckling their mother.

Colostrum Replacers

  • Colostrum replacers. These were developed on large dairy units in America where they wanted a simple, standard system which ensured every calf had the same, correct level of immunoglobulins.  They are therefore designed for systems where the calf is routinely removed from its mother as soon as it is born.  The replacers are then fed either by tube or teat.

Colostrum supplements are mainly based on milk products supplemented with various energy, protein and min/vit products hence contain relatively low levels of immunoglobulins.

To achieve the much higher levels of immunoglobulins needed for a colostrum replacement, the majority of American products used refined, bovine blood serum.  In the UK this makes their use illegal as EU legislation bans the feeding of blood based products to ruminants.  So if you are purchasing colostrum supplements/replacements in the future always check they are licenced for use in the EU.

Basil Lowman,

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