Body temperature is an important gauge of calf health. Recently, calf researchers with Provimi North America Inc. reported results of a trial comparing tail skin temperature to conventional rectal temperature. They found that tail skin temperature is a suitable alternative for measuring the body temperature of calves.

During the study, researchers attached a temperature-recording device to the underside of each calf’s tail. The device recorded the calf’s skin temperature every 10 minutes. They compared this to rectal temperatures taken using a digital thermometer.

The researchers say that measuring skin temperature has promise as a noninvasive substitute for measuring core body temperature of young calves.

Information on minimizing the impact of stressful and uncomfortable procedures on dairy calves and heifers can be found in DCHA’s Gold Standards III.

For more information about the research trial, which was presented in July at the American Dairy Science Association’s annual meeting, see abstract No. 806.