Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology
Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology
Research Article Open Access

Impact of heat stress, nutritional stress and their combinations on the adaptive capability of Malpura sheep under hot semi-arid tropical environment

Vijai Prakash Maurya, Veerasamy Sejian, Davendra Kumar, Syed Mohammad Khursheed Naqvi

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A study was conducted to assess the cumulative effects of combined stresses (heat and nutritional) on physiological adaptability, blood biochemical and endocrine responses in Malpura rams. The study was conducted for a period of 45 days. Twenty eight adult Malpura rams (average BW 66.0 Kg) were used in the present study. The rams were divided into four groups viz., CON (n=7; control), HS (n=7; heat stress), NS (n=7; nutritional stress) and CS (n=7; combined stress). The animals were stall fed with a diet consisting of 60% roughage and 40% concentrate. The CON and HS ewes were provided with ad libitum feeding while NS and CS rams were provided with restricted feed (30% intake of GI ewes) to induce nutritional stress. The HS and NS rams were kept in climatic chamber @ 42ºC and 55% RH for six hours a day between 10:00 hr to 16:00 hr to induce heat stress. The parameters studied were respiration rate (RR), pulse rate (PR), rectal temperature (RT), scrotal volume, sweating rate scrotum, sweating rate skin, haemoglobin (Hb) and packed cell volume (PCV), plasma cortisol, T3 (tri-iodo-thyronine), and T4 (thyroxin) level. Combined stresses significantly (P<0.01) influenced all adaptive parameters studied. The study shows that Malpura rams possess the adaptive capability to two stresses simultaneously. This is evident from the non-significant changes in RR, RT, sweating rate of scrotum and skin and Hb concentration between HS and CS groups. Further, the capability to adjust the cortisol level to minimum possible increase to elicit the heat stress relieving effects also proves the superior adaptive capability of Malpura rams to the effects of combined stresses.


cortisol, combined stress, heat stress, nutritional stress, Malpura rams, physiological response, thyroxin


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