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Cold Exposure of Southdown and Welsh Mountain Sheep. 2. Effects of breed, plane of nutrition and previous acclimatization to cold upon skin temperature, heart rate, shivering and respiration rate

  • A. R. Sykes (a1) and J. Slee (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 September 2010

Shorn Southdown and Welsh Mountain sheep on high or maintenance levels of nutrition were subjected to two acute (−20°C; 4 mph wind) cold exposures in climate chambers. Before and between exposures the sheep were kept in either a cold (+8°C) or a thermoneutral (+30°C) environment.

1. At +8°C, all the sheep shivered and showed sustained vasoconstriction and elevated heart rates.

2. At + 30°C, heart rates, skin temperatures on the extremities and muscular tone were all consistently higher in sheep which had previously been kept at +8°C.

3. During cooling, the onset of vasoconstriction and increase in heart rate were both delayed in sheep previously kept at + 8°C.

4. These effects (2, 3) were retained for at least 2 days but less than 12 days after the sheep returned to thermoneutrality. They decayed faster than the increased resistance to body cooling produced simultaneously in the same sheep (Sykes and Slee, 1969), since this was still detectable after 2 weeks.

5. Breed differences were mainly small.

6. It was concluded that acclimatization induced by chronic cold exposure was associated with a temporary increase in basal metabolic rate.

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R. F. Riek , M. H. Hardy , D. H. K. Lee and H. B. Carter 1951. The effect of the dietary plane upon the reactions of two breeds of sheep during short exposures to a hot environment. Aust. J. agric. Res. 1: 217230.

A. R. Sykes and J. Slee 1969. Cold exposure of Southdown and Welsh Mountain sheep. 1. Effects of breed, plane of nutrition and acclimatization to cold upon resistance to body cooling. Anim. Prod. 11: 6575.

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Animal Science
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