Metabolic and Endocrine Changes in Newborn Calves

Effects on metabolic and endocrine traits of feeding colostrum and mature milk studied in calves

Calves assigned to 3 groups: Bovine colostrum (BC), glucose (G) and water (W). BC group received colostrum twice daily on day 1 and 2 of life. G and W groups received colostrum only on day 2 and 3


  • BC group had significantly higher temperatures, heat rates, and respiratory frequencies
  • Calves fed only glucose and water had reduced energy intake
  • Fecal consistency was significantly higher in BC group, expressing improved function of the GI tract
  • BC group had significantly higher circulating glucose, albumin, insulin, IGF-I, and lower urea levels indicating stimulation of anabolic processes
  • BC group had significantly higher plasma globulin levels

Colostrum intake within first 24 hours of life not only improves immune status but also produces the additional important and favorable effects on metabolic and endocrine traits and vitality

Hadorn U, et al. (1997) Delaying colostrum intake by one day has important effects on metabolic traits and on gastrointestinal and metabolic hormones in neonatal calves. J Nutr Oct;127(10):2011-23.