Premie calf....advice

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Oct 11, 2016
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Anyone have experience with premie calves? Calf was born 25/26days early. It's about 2 hrs old and isn't trying to stand even when lifted up. Bottle fed it colostrum and it drank good. Took it to house because it feels like 25° outside and we are getting day 3 of snow/rain. Figured it wouldn't make it if left out there and with mom. Its eyes don't look super "bright" to me but maybe that is just how a premie looks. It shakes occassionally but is mostly dried off and has now gone to sleep after eating. Going to call vet and see what they recommend but would love advice here too. Plan to feed small amounts often (5x/day??) and keep it warm and dry. I've read giving an antibiotic might be good but also not sure if thats really a good idea without signs of it needed it. Also maybe would benefit from a shot to help lungs develop but breathing sounds normal so not sure...obviously will see what the vet says but haven't reached them yet.
I've had three, two of which are still in my herd and top breeders at 13 and 10 years old. And both were orphaned. (the one that is currently 10 is in my lap in my avatar pic)

Yes, feeding small amounts multiple times a day. And I never gave antibiotics because neither had a temp or showed any signs of respiratory distress but did give them Vitamin B Complex. Absolutely, your vet is your best advocate and would follow their advice. One of them couldn't walk for 10 days, so lots of physical therapy and TLC. As long as they're warm & have shelter, they can thrive.
We had one come 5 weeks early. (We had taken her to a bull, so we knew the exact breeding date.) He was fully haired, but he couldn't stand, and after an hour of trying to get him up, his mom walked off and left him. We wheelbarrowed him to the house and kept him in our kitchen for a week. Had to tube him at first because he had no suck reflex, and he got a shot of Dex because his lungs were raspy, but he finally started nursing. We had a lamb nipple on a 20-oz. pop bottle and he got one of those full of mom's colostrum/milk several times a day. We also gave him some of that shockingly blue paste stuff with probiotics and vitamins in it (I forget the name of it). I had to wipe his bottom with a warm wet terrycloth towel to get him to poop, and he had a towel around his middle as a diaper for a while (poor thing was lying in his own pee). It was hard work, but he was able to stand after several days, with help, and my husband put a large dog harness on him and took him for walks outside a few times every day. There are three concrete stairs down to the back door, so he had to be good enough to navigate the steps, but hubby steadied him by holding the harness, preventing him from tumbling to the floor.

A week later, he was getting up by himself and starting to explore the house (ack!), so it was time to go take him out and reunite him with mom. Luckily, she hadn't totally forgotten him, and she was very happy to see him! She knocked him over repeatedly with her excited licking, but he got right back up every time, and then he found the milk bar and he was off! He grew perfectly fine after that. We steered him and then sold him when he was 8 or 9 months old. It was a week of intensive care, but he survived and thrived.

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