Colostrum and its alternatives
Unlike a human baby, a goat kid is born without antibodies; it does not receive antibodies from its mother during gestation. When a goat kid is born it should therefore be fed colostrum as soon as possible, preferably within 6 hours of birth. The antibodies in this colostrum provide ‘passive’ immunization. After about two weeks, the kid begins to make its own antibodies, otherwise known as the ‘active’ immunization process.
The colostrum that the goat kid receives usually comes from its mother. The antibodies contained in this colostrum help defend the kid against diseases that occur in the mother’s immediate environment. By giving mother’s colostrum it is possible that diseases such as paratuberculosis and CAE are transmitted to the newly born animal. In addition, risk of contamination with paratuberculosis and CL from other environmental sources such as straw, manure and other animals exists.
As a newly-born to two week old goat kid has practically no antibodies it is very sensitive to the aforementioned diseases and exposure can lead to illness and mortality. To avoid this, kids are usually put in a separate area immediately after birth and either bottle- or tube-fed with treated colostrum.
Which colostrum is best?
Colostrum is available in various guises, the most obvious of which is the colostrum of the mother animal. Even though this type has its disadvantages, it is always the best choice. However, this is the case only if a farm is free from paratuberculosis, CAE and CL. Even livestock breeders without these diseases can experience the passing on of these diseases; there is always a risk of contamination and this can have significant consequences for goat kids. In addition to the risk of disease transfer, colostrum quality (expressed in grams of antibodies per litre) is never fixed.
If no mother’s colostrum is available, cow colostrum is often used. Cow colostrum taken from the first milking, obtained directly from a dairy farmer, often varies significantly in quality. Heifer colostrum especially has a much too low antibody content. Furthermore, untreated cow colostrum can contain germs which may lead to health problems in the kid.
The best alternative to mother’s colostrum is CapraCol. CapraCol is dried cow’s colostrum obtained from the first milking to which a prebiotic has been added. This colostrum is standardized to contain a fixed level of antibodies which, after mixing with water heated to approximately 40°C, reactivate shortly before arriving in the kid’s digestive system. CapraCol is also completely germ-free and easy to use.
CapraCol contains an added prebiotic. This prebiotic provides nourishment for healthy bacteria in the gut. In addition to a colostrum feed which contains a high content of antibodies, the goat kid also receives an ingredient which boosts healthy intestinal development.
CapraCol contains all the ingredients that should always be present in top quality colostrum. Apart from a high quantity and broad spectrum of various antibodies, CapraCol also contains antibacterial ingredients. These behave as a natural antibiotic and attack harmful bacteria and viruses. CapraCol contains a balanced level of amino acids, vitamins and minerals which goat kids require from the first day of life in order to remain healthy throughout their lives.
Paul Arts (1984) has been working with colostrum since 2006. During his Bachelor and Master studies, he and his father Cor Arts started selling colostrum products for dogs, cats, horses, sheep and goat lambs and calves. Over the years, a great deal of knowledge has been gained about colostrum, the active substances and the effect on human and animal health. This knowledge has been used to develop products for various animals.