In the livestock and especially the dairy industry it is very common to use milk replacers when raising newborns. The obvious benefit is being able to sell the cow’s milk for the human market shortly after birth occurs. This means more money for the farmers and producers, but it also means that more attention is needed to raise the calves to ensure that they are healthy. This is especially true because all newborns, regardless of species, are born with sterile digestive tracts and limited immune systems.

Nature’s solution to help ready newborns for the world is to pass on beneficial bacteria and antibodies directly from the mother to the newborn. In mammals the mode for transportation is the colostrum, or first milk, which naturally contains the antibodies and beneficial bacteria. Various studies have also shown that the newborns acquire more beneficial bacteria and antibodies if this transfer occurs within hours of birth. Only one day after birth the body’s ability to absorb and utilize antibodies decreases rapidly.

So, one might ask what can be done to help make this process of colonization more effective in newborn livestock. The simple answer is to provide all newborns with a source of probiotics. You may be thinking that this sounds like a headache waiting to happen, but there are so many different forms of probiotics that there is surely one that will fit into your management techniques. For example, if you are interested in a probiotic that is easily dissolved in milk replacer look for products such as Probios Dispersible Powder.   Simply store it next to your milk replacer and add the recommended amount to the water at the same time as the milk replacer and stir. On the other hand, if you prefer to give the newborn probiotics immediately after birth look for probiotics in gel form such as the Probios line of Gel products. These gel products can easily be administer using a dosing gun for 300 cc tubes, or for 80 cc tubes simply use the dial to set for the amount you need.

Utilizing a probiotic shortly after birth will benefit the animals’ lifetime production output with studies showing bigger and healthier calves with fewer incidences of scours as the result of one simple addition to your newborn management protocol – and that’s the nature of the game; getting more return on the investment.