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The thermal response of sheep to a hot environment in different years

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McCrabb, G.J., Bortolussi, G., Hennoste, L.M. and McDonald, B.J. (1995) The thermal response of sheep to a hot environment in different years. The Journal of Agricultural Science, 125 (1). pp. 153-158. ISSN 0021-8596

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021859600074608


The aim of this experiment was to determine whether the thermal responses ofsheep exposed to a hot environment were similar in different years. Rectal temperaturesofsheep were measured during the hot months (between November and March) of three consecutive years (1990/91, 1991/92, 1992/93) in a flock of Merino sheep (n = 151) in the semi–arid tropics of northern Australia. Mean daily maximum temperatures in these months were 36±0·4, 39±0·3 and 37±0·3°C in Years 1, 2 and 3, respectively. In Year 1, rectal temperatures were measured on 3 consecutive days;the repeatability was 0·47 at 08·00 h and 0·64 at 16·00 h. In Year 1, two sub-groups were identified according to measurements of rectal temperature, low body temperature(LBT; n = 35) sheep, whose rectal temperature was ≤ 39·8°C at 16·00 h on each of the 3 consecutive measurement days, and high body temperature (HBT; n = 32) sheep, whose rectal temperature was ≥ 39·9°C. The rectal temperatures of LBT and HBT sheep were then measured during the subsequent 2 years. Rectal temperatures of HBT sheep were significantly higher than those of LBT sheep at both 08·00 and 16·00 h, in both Year 2 and Year 3. Rectal temperatures at 16·00 h in Year 1 were correlated (P < 0.001) with rectal temperatures at 16·00 h in both Year 2 (r = 0·79) and Year 3 (r = 0.82), respectively. It was concluded that measurement of rectal temperature in sheep exposed to a hot environment in any oneyear is an accurate index of their rectal temperatures during subsequent years.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agriculture and the environment
Animal culture > Sheep
Animal culture > Housing and environmental control
Live Archive:17 Apr 2024 02:09
Last Modified:17 Apr 2024 02:09

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