The milk provided by the mother for the first two days is called colostrum . This special substance carries a high level of nutrients that the kittens need, and it will provide a natural immunity to many diseases.
The high concentration of total protein and minerals in colostrum gradually changes to meet the infant's needs over the first two to three weeks until lactation is established.
The key component in colostrum and breast milk is immunoglobulins or antibodies that serve to protect the infant against infections or viruses.
Initially, it consists largely of colostrum, a substance that has more protein than complete breast milk and lower amounts of fat and sugar.
The mother transfers natural antibodies to her puppies through the colostrum she produces within the first 24 hours of giving birth.
Colostrum is the 'first milk' a nursing baby will get, and it is full of beneficial antibodies to help the baby ward off illness.
Animal colostrum has been used for thousands of years as an antibiotic and as a means of supporting a healthy immune response.
During the second half of pregnancy, secretory activity increases and the alveoli become distended by accumulating colostrum.
Compared with mature milk, colostrum is richer in protein and minerals and lower in carbohydrates, fat, and some vitamins.
More than once someone had purchased frozen colostrum cubes from her to feed a newborn calf.