Short communication: improving passive transfer of immunoglobulins in calves. III. Effect of artificial mothering

J Dairy Sci. 2011 Mar;94(3):1536-9. doi: 10.3168/jds.2010-3679.


The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of artificial mothering, simulated by verbal and physical stimulation of the newborn, on passive transfer of IgG in the dairy calf. Newborn heifer calves born without dystocia were removed from the dam before suckling and randomly assigned to 1 of 2 treatment groups: no tactile or verbal stimulation other than that required for feeding (group 1; n=20), or artificial mothering, consisting of 15 min of vigorous physical and verbal stimulation conducted within 1 to 2h of birth at the time of colostrum feeding and repeated 1 to 2h later (group 2; n=21). All calves were fed 2.25 L (150 g of IgG) of a commercially available colostrum replacement using an esophageal tube feeder. Blood samples collected at 24h of age showed that serum IgG levels and the apparent efficiency of absorption of the IgG were similar in both groups of calves. Artificial mothering by physical and verbal stimulation had no significant effect on IgG passive transfer in dairy heifers born without dystocia.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Acoustic Stimulation / veterinary*
  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cattle / immunology*
  • Colostrum / immunology
  • Female
  • Immunization, Passive / methods
  • Immunization, Passive / veterinary*
  • Immunoglobulin G / administration & dosage*
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Maternal Behavior
  • Milk Substitutes
  • Physical Stimulation / methods*


  • Immunoglobulin G