Proper storage of maternal colostrum can make a big difference to calf health. Experts recommend the following tips to help preserve immunoglobulin levels in refrigerated or frozen colostrum:
- Store fresh colostrum for no more than one week in the refrigerator.
- Maintain a refrigeration temperature between 33 degrees and 35 degrees F. This helps reduce bacterial growth.
- Freeze colostrum for up to one year.
- Freeze 1 quart (1 liter) of colostrum in a 1- or 2-gallon re-sealable storage bag. Lay bags flat in the freezer. You also may freeze colostrum in clean, sanitized 1- or 2-liter plastic bottles.
- Check your freezer periodically to make sure it is -5 degrees F.
- Thaw frozen colostrum in warm (less than 120 degrees F) water to prevent heat damage to colostral antibodies.
For additional colostrum management guidelines, please see the Gold Standards I for Holstein heifers less than six months of age.