Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Thesis Type

Honors College

First Advisor

John W. Barlow


calf, colostrum, bacteria, coliform, quality


The objective of this study was to evaluate the colostrum fed to calves at the UVM Miller Research Center on an immunological and bacteriological level as well as to explore the relationship between these factors and the health of the calves. Colostrum samples fed to twelve calves during their first and second feedings were collected and evaluated using a colostrometer, Brix refractometer, and were also plated on 3M Petrifilm plates. During the study, the weights of the calves and their rectal temperatures were also recorded. Of the 18 colostrum samples, 7 of the Brix refractometer readings did not match the colostrometer readings. 9 of the 18 colostrum samples analyzed had coliform counts and total aerobic counts higher than the recommended levels. There was a significant relationship (p=0.0092) between a calf having a fever within the first 14 days of life and the average daily gain of the calf. The colostrum Brix values displayed a moderate negative correlation with the bacterial counts (coliform (p=0.0145), aerobic (p=0.0381), lactic acid (p=0.0209) and Staphylococcus bacteria (p=0.0364)). The relationship between the lactic acid (p=0.0406), aerobic (p=0.0191), and coliform bacteria (p=0.0229) and the average daily gain of the calves was significant. Although significant relationships were found, more studies should be performed with larger sample sizes to further explore the immunological and bacteriological relationships as well as to compare the different methods of evaluating colostrum IgG to the gold standard of RID to make an accurate recommendation.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.