Reaching for Genetic Potential

Nov 2, 2022 | Educational Blog

Larry Roth,, Ph.D., PAS Vice President of Nutrition

Whatever happens to a calf day 1, week 1 or month 1 of its life determines if it will live up to its genetic potential. This statement is true for both replacement heifers with tremendous milking potential and steer calves bred for muscling and marbling. Colostrum consumption and the use of CONVERT Day-One Calf Gel or Bolus are critical for initial protection of the calf. However, the calf requires continued protection as it loses its passive immunity from colostrum and then develops its active immune system. (Figure 1). The CONVERT™ BIG Calf Powder is designed to bolster digestive and whole-body health daily from birth through weaning.

Consumption of high-quality colostrum is essential for accomplishing passive immunity in the newborn calf; unfortunately, the blood antibody levels from passive immunity quickly decline (blue line). To compound the problem, the calf’s immune system slowly develops to produce antibodies for self-defense, commonly referred to as active immunity (red line). The time gap between the peak passive immunity protection and fully active immunity protection is a high-risk period, or I prefer to call it “Death Valley” because this is the time when calves get sick and die.

The BIG Calf Powder is designed to protect calves as they successfully journey from birth through Death Valley and on to a healthy weaning process. The BIG Calf Powder features:

☑    Direct-fed bacteria to protect the small intestine for nutrient absorption by restricting intestinal pathogen growth and enhancing immune function.

☑    L-form (Cell Wall-deficient) bacteria to enhance immune function and stabilize the small intestine.

☑    Egg-based specialized proteins to restrict two E. coli strains, two Bovine Rota virus strains, Bovine Corona virus, two Salmonella species, Cryptosporidium and two Clostridium perfringens strains.


☑    Enzymes to enhance diet utilization.

The BIG Calf Powder also easily blends into colostrum at a suggested 5 g/calf/feeding to equal the beneficial components of 15 ml of Day-One Calf Gel or one Day-One Calf Bolus. The BIG Calf Powder readily mixes with whole milk or milk replacer at the rate of 1 g/calf/d up to weaning.

Bolstering digestive tract health will also enhance respiratory tract well-being. A NY calf raiser and his veterinarian are recording improved calf lung scores after adopting a program of Day-One Calf Gel at birth and supplementing the BIG Calf Powder via robotic milk replacer feeders. An OH calf raiser adds the BIG Calf Powder to colostrum consumed at birth and then mixes with milk replacer is reporting drastically reduced death loss, while another calf raiser tells of healthy calves more aggressively consuming their starter feed.