Technical Information

On this page you will find a number of different pieces of Technical Information. Click on the links below to find out more: 


Rehydration for Scouring Calves

Abomasal Bloat in Lambs and Goat Kids





Colostrum is the starting block to disease prevention. Calves should receive at least 10% of their body weight (about 4 litres) in colostrum in the first 10 hours. That is 2 litres within 4 hours after birth and another 2 litres within 10 hours. The protection to the calf is by the immunoglobulins (IgG) in the first milk. However these IgG levels drop by 75% in subsequent milkings. Colostrum is also high in fat and protein so it provides a source of high energy for the new born.

Fresh Colostrum versus whole milk

Fat                   2x that of whole milk

Protein             4x that of whole milk

IgG proteins      60x that of whole milk

Lactose            Same as whole milk

Vitamins           5 - 10x that of whole milk

Energy             10% higher that of whole milk

  • Colostrum can be frozen or stored for long periods without damage to the immunoglobulins.
  • Stored colostrum may be preserved with lactobacillus, yoghurt or a colostrum keeper. The stored product must be kept in a cool place and stirred twice a day.
  • Colostrum after 5 days of age will only provide local gut protection; however, it remains a high energy source of nutrient for the calf.
  • The Immunoglobulin G (IgG) in the colostrum is related to the health and the vaccination program of the dam. The colostrum from herds vaccinated with Rotavirus is particularly valuable.
  • Colostrum from individual cows varies significantly - depending on the age of the dam and the amount of colostrum produced at the first milking. Heifers’ colostrum compares to that of an adult cow in quality and IgG concentration. If in doubt pooling of first day colostrum gives added safety to the newborn.
  • Jumpstart™ Full Cream Colostrum is a highly specialised colostrum powder that can supply IgG if no fresh colostrum is available. Even if Jumpstart™ is given after the first 12 hours the high levels of IgG in this product will add some protection to the calf at the local gut level.
  • A blood test to ascertain the IgG status of the calf is available and is advisable. Ask your vet.



Rehydration & Electrolytes for Scouring Calves

Calves that are scouring are losing body water; body salts (electrolytes) and energy. Weight loss can be dramatic and fatal. These ingredients must all be replaced as quickly as possible.

Irrespective of the cause of the diarrhoea (nutritional or infectious) the treatment is the same. That is to replace the lost fluids and salts and to maintain the energy of the calf. This is best done by giving a good quality oral electrolyte at therapeutic levels during the period of the diarrhoea and the recovery period.

However oral electrolytes by themselves are lower in energy than milk, so milk feeding during the scouring period should be continued as much as possible. Milk should never be withheld for longer than 24 hours.


Calf symptoms                                                                                                      % dehydration

Diarrhoea only                                                                                                                   5%

Eyes slightly sunken, skin losing elasticity, calf staggery but still suckling                             7%

Eyes sunken, skin slow to flatten if pinched gums sticky, calf depressed                               9%*

Eyes very sunken, skin won’t flatten out if pinched, calf cannot stand                                    12%*

            * These calves will need additional intravenous fluids administered by a vet.

Note:  Any calf that has scoured for one day is at least 5% dehydrated.


To rehydrate the calf and maintain its hydration, use the following calculations.

Step One:         To determine the volume of fluid required to correct the dehydration,  multiply the weight of the calf by the percentage of dehydration (from table above). E.g.: a 40kg calf x 7% dehydration = 2.8 litres electrolyte just to correct the fluid loss.

Step Two:         The calf requires a further 10% of the body weight in fluids for maintenance that day. E.g.: a 40kg calf requires a minimum of 4 litres of fluids/day

Therefore:         To fully rehydrate the calf add these two volumes (Rehydration + Maintenance) together to give the total required for that day. The example above equals 6.8+ litres.



Give no more than 2 litres per feed. So the calf needs to be fed 3-4 times per day.

Do not mix electrolytes with milk. Feed separately, the interval between feeds to be not less than 2 hours.



Abomasal Bloat in Lambs and Goat Kids

Abomasal bloat often occurs where lambs are fed cow’s milk or milk replacers. If there is presence of certain bacteria (e.g. sarcina ventriculi) in the lambs gut, warm milk entering the abomasum creates the ideal environment for these bacteria to flourish. The lactose in the gut converts to lactic acid, an environment where good bacteria can’t survive, but harmful bacteria can. The result sees a fermentation that creates gas in the gut that expands the stomach and either compresses other organs causing them to fail or ruptures the stomach wall, both cases causing death.

Though not always guaranteed to stop the damaging effects of bloat, introducing a volume of good bacteria into the abomasum can create an ideal environment for good bacteria to flourish and inhibit the multiplying of harmful pathogens.

There are two ways to do this:

Firstly, use NZAgbiz Biosupport™ in conjunction with your milk replacer. Biosupport™ is a powerful probiotic that contains one billion good bacteria per gram. When mixed at one gram per litre, it instantly provides good bacteria to the gut to promote gut health and combat bad bacteria.

Secondly, yogurtising your milk replacer creates a feed full of good bacteria. Claire Bull, a successful Waikato lamb rearer, has worked on a Scandinavian concept of introducing the benefits of probiotic and prebiotic in CMR-based yoghurt to the diets of lambs. Claire, in conjunction with vet Jenny Burton, documented the benefits, recipe and successes and published them with Meat & Wool NZ in 2006.

Click here to view and download the document.

If you require any further information, please contact us here.







Ancalf™ and Nutricalf™ have an added coccidiostat that aids in the prevention of Coccidiosis. Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease that causes reduced feed consumption and conversion in the sub-clinical form. Clinical signs include bloody scouring, loss of appetite, dehydration and loss of weight and condition.

The coccidiostat, Its active ingredient, decoquinate works by preventing the growth of coccidia causing parasites Eimeria bovis and Eimeria zuernii.





Actigen is an additive in Ancalf™, Supacalf™ and Brown Bag CMR™. It is a natural yeast-derived carbohydrate fraction that supports an animal’s natural defense, maintains intestinal function and aids full absorption of nutrients. Actigen is traceable and is a valuable growth permitter helping animals achieve their full potential.

Alltech, the maker of Actigen™, are a world leader in the research and development of natural animal nutritional feed supplements and have spent more than nineteen years researching gut health. This has led to the accumulation of over 733 research studies, including 113 peer reviewed papers, on the effects of carbohydrate fractions in animal production systems.


The following is a press release produced by Alltech explainig the relatioship between NZAgbiz and the Actigen product:

Actigen – Invest in CMR not in the veterinarian

NZAgbiz, New Zealand’s leading producer of milk powder blends, has brought a New Zealand first to calf milk replacers. Using the technology of Nutrigenomics, it is possible to research nutrition at the gene level, allowing scientists to rationally design novel ways to enhance animal performance through nutrition.  NZAgbiz is the only New Zealand CMR producer now using additives developed using technology that measures genetic expression in response to nutrition. 

Targeted nutrition means stronger, healthier calves. Everything starts with the development and maintenance of the intestine. For a long time it has been known that the use of carbohydrates isolated from the cell wall of a specific yeast can play a central role in  eliminating pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli from the  intestine and have a crucial function in the immune response. This growing understanding of the structure and function of carbohydrates opens new opportunities to use carbohydrates as functional feed ingredients in calf rearing.

Intestinal microflora are influenced by the presence of specific carbohydrates. Intestinal bacteria have important effects on the animal, including regulation of cell turnover in the gut wall, competition for nutrients, modification of digestion, competitive exclusion of pathogens, metabolism of mucus secretions and modulation of mucosal immunity. It’s essential that these elements function to their fullest capability for maximal growth.

Alltech, the maker of Actigen, has spent more than seventeen years researching gut health. This has led to the accumulation of over 600 research studies, including 110 peer reviewed papers, on the effects of carbohydrate fractions in animal production systems published to date.  Actigen is the result of dedicated research at Alltech’s state of the art Nutrigenomics facility.  Building on years of research in intestinal physiology and intestinal health using natural compounds, Actigen is the next generation in natural technology.

Actigen supports animal performance and aids in nutrient utilization.  Supported by research and backed up by an independent quality control test, Actigen is the right tool to maximize calf performance and profitability.

Closing the gap between ideal and actual performance is essential to maximise profitability. From start to finish, Actigen is a key part of strategic feeding programs. 

We have an excellent relationship with Alltech. If you If you have further enquiry about Alltech or Actigen see Alltech's website here or please contact us here.