preemie calf care

Asked February 11, 2020, 1:27 PM EST

Hello. We live on an Oregon high desert ranch. We have a three day old preemie calf we saved from the birds. It's slightly gurglie but not too bad yet. We warmed him up with a bath then warm bottles then tubed all very little liquid and he bellowed off and on and encouraged us in our careful handling of him. Question is can he get too warm in our industrious caring for him? HIs mouth was cold but has warmed up. We are worried he's not completely formed and could be doing something wrong.

Grant County Oregon

1 Response

A calf's normal rectal temperature should be in the range of 101.5-102 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are worried about keeping him too warm, I would check his temp and adjust from there. Typically once warm, calves should be able to self regulate in a room temperature atmosphere.

On the preemie side, below is an article from Progressive Farmer regarding some of the concerns/threats for these calves and suggestions to help. Given that you saved him, I would guess he didn't get colostrum from his dam. If you got him some great!, if not, than there are other steps that can be taken to help in that article.

https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/livestock/article/2017/01/09/premature-problems

I hope this helps and feel free to call your local extension office with any other questions.