The postnatal development of ventilatory reflexes originating from bronchopulmonary receptors was assessed in preterm vs. full-term lambs. Ventilation and arterial pressure were repeatedly measured in 10 preterm (gestational age, 132 days) and 7 full-term lambs without sedation from day 1 to day 42. The Hering-Breuer inhibitory reflex (slowly adapting stretch receptors) was assessed by the increase in expiratory time during end-inspiratory occlusion. The pulmonary chemoreflex (C-fiber endings) was assessed by the initial apnea + bradycardia + systemic hypotension and the secondary tachypnea after capsaicin intravenous injection. Results show the following. 1) Premature birth did not modify the maturation of the Hering-Breuer reflex. 2) Whereas a classic pulmonary chemoreflex was observed in the very first hours of life in preterm lambs, the tachypneic component of this reflex was weaker than in full-term lambs on day 1. 3) Premature birth led to a reversed postnatal maturation of this tachypneic response (tendency to increase with postnatal age). Our findings suggest that premature birth in lambs modifies postnatal maturation of the pulmonary chemoreflex.