Immunoglobulin G content and colostrum composition of different goat and sheep breeds in Switzerland and Germany.

Kessler, E C; Bruckmaier, R M; Gross, Josef Johann (2019). Immunoglobulin G content and colostrum composition of different goat and sheep breeds in Switzerland and Germany. Journal of dairy science, 102(6), pp. 5542-5549. American Dairy Science Association 10.3168/jds.2018-16235

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Colostrum represents the sole source to acquire humoral immunity and is an important energy source for newborn lambs and goat kids. However, colostrum composition (i.e., the contents of IgG, fat, protein, and lactose) is affected by various factors such as parity and litter size and, potentially, by breed. In the present study, we examined the colostrum composition of different goat and sheep breeds raised for milk and meat production in Switzerland and Germany. Ten goat breeds (Anglo-Nubian, Appenzell, Boer, Bunte Deutsche Edelziege, Chamois-colored, Grisons Striped, Peacock, Saanen, Toggenburg, and Valais Blackneck) and 10 sheep breeds (Brown-Headed Meat, East Friesian Milk, German Blackheaded Mutton, Gray Horned Heath, Lacaune Dairy, Merino Land, Swiss Black-Brown Mountain, Swiss Charollais, Swiss White Alpine, and Valais Blacknose) were involved in this study. First colostrum samples were obtained from ewes (n = 100) and goats (n = 116) between 10 and 390 min after parturition and analyzed for total IgG, fat, protein, and lactose contents. Colostral IgG concentrations varied between 4.8 and 75.0 mg/mL in goats, and between 6.2 and 65.4 mg/mL in ewes, and the time interval between milking and parturition did not affect colostral IgG concentrations. In goats, the highest IgG concentrations were found in Boer (meat-type; 61.0 ± 10.3 mg/mL; mean ± SD) and the lowest concentrations were observed in Bunte Deutsche Edelziege (milk-type; 26.5 ± 12.5 mg/mL). In sheep, East Friesian Milk and Lacaune Dairy showed the lowest colostral IgG concentrations (17.9 ± 7.3 and 20.2 ± 8.0 mg/mL, respectively), and the highest values were observed in the Merino Land breed (44.2 ± 15.7 mg/mL). The lowest fat and protein concentrations and concomitantly highest lactose concentrations were observed in colostrum of East Friesian Milk and Lacaune Dairy sheep. Parity number did not affect colostrum composition in sheep or goats. In contrast, colostral fat content was higher in ewes bearing twins and triplets than in those carrying singletons. Increasing litter size tended to be associated with higher protein and lower lactose concentrations in ovine (i.e., singletons vs. twins vs. triplets) and caprine colostrum (i.e., singletons vs. twins), whereas colostral IgG concentrations were not affected by litter size. In conclusion, IgG and concentrations of other colostrum constituents showed a wide range in goats and ewes and were mainly affected by the type of breed.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Physiology

UniBE Contributor:

Gross, Josef Johann


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)




American Dairy Science Association




Josef Johann Gross

Date Deposited:

05 Jun 2019 15:31

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 15:36

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

colostrum goat immunoglobulin G sheep




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