New life, new challenges

Semi-finalist 2024

A newborn angus calf lays in deep straw in an indoor pen. The calf's dam, a Holstein, stands behind the calf with her head down.
Submitted by:Becs Hiltz
Department:Agricultural, Life and Environmental Science
Faculty:Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences

This photo represents the vulnerability of the bovine calf at birth. This calf was born moments ago, and its dam stands protectively in the background, even though she has yet to provide immune protection to her calf. Humans are born with immune protection from their mom in the form of maternal antibodies, but the bovine calf, in contrast, is born a “blank slate”. They must drink, and absorb, antibody-rich colostrum to obtain the same protection. The calf has yet to stand, has barely begun to exist, and yet the clock is already ticking. The calf only has 12-24 hours to absorb those colostrum antibodies or it will be unprotected for the first several months of its life and vulnerable to disease. Hopefully, with our research on colostrum absorption mechanisms, we can better understand these vulnerable moments, and improve the chances of survival for newborn calves.

Was your image created using Generative AI?

How was your image created?
This photo was taken on a smartphone, minutes after birth of the calf.