Effect of colostrum components on ruminant health & performance

Determine the best feeding strategy of newborn calves for lifetime production.

Cows Roseworthy

A calf receives colostrum from its dam very shortly after birth. This first meal is important, not only in a nutritional sense but also because colostrum passes immunoglobulins from the mother that transfer passive immunity to the calf. However, the full effects of colostrum and its various other components are not fully understood.

The quality of the colostrum which may have a lasting effect on health and performance. The effect of insufficient colostrum volume/quality intake is poorly understood in cattle. 

Key methodology:

The project will use samples from calves that received colostrum from their natural dams, calves that received colostrum from a surrogate dam and calves that received 1 bottle of pooled colostrum from several cows as is standard dairy practice.

These calves will be followed during the first few years of life to observe the lasting effects of the colostrum that they received directly after birth.

Measurements will include growth rates and levels of proteins, microRNA and microbes that were transferred through the colostrum to the calves to determine which of these are important for calf health and performance.

Cynthia Bottema


Associate Professor Cynthia Bottema

Co-supervisors: Associate Professor Kiro PetrovskiProfessor John Williams

Research area: Animal and veterinary bioscience: Molecular genetics of livestock, particularly beef cattle, with an emphasis on fat and energy metabolism; use of biotechnologies to improve livestock production.

Recommended honours enrolment: Honours in Animal Science

Tagged in Honours projects - Animal science, Honours projects - Cynthia Bottema, Honours projects - Kiro Petrovski, Honours projects - John Williams, Honours in Animal Science subtheme - Production animal health