Ethology, physiological, and ingestive responses of sheep subjected to different temperatures and salinity levels of water

  • Patrício Gomes Leite
  • Jordânio Inácio MarquesEmail author
  • Dermeval Araújo Furtado
  • José Pinheiro Lopes Neto
  • Bonifácio Benício de Souza
  • José Wallace Barbosa do Nascimento
Original Paper


The objective of this study was to evaluate the physiological responses, ethology, and ingestive behavior of female Morada Nova sheep kept in a thermoneutral environment, after thermal stress and after consuming water with different levels of salinity. Thirty-six Morada Nova females with a mean age of 10.0 ± 2.0 months and a mean weight of 25.0 ± 3.0 kg were evaluated and distributed in a climatic chamber. The experimental design was completely randomized, with a factorial scheme of 2 (air temperature (AT)) × 3 (salinity levels (SLs)) and six replications. The sheep’s physiological responses, ethology (day/night), and ingestive behavior were evaluated while they were subjected to ATs of 26.0 and 32.0 °C and SLs of 3.0, 6.0, and 9.0 dS/m. With elevation in AT, the animals experienced increased (P < 0.05) rectal temperatures (RTs), respiratory rates (RFs), and surface temperatures (STs) and exhibited reduced (P < 0.05) heart rates (HRs). When consuming water with an SL of 9.0 dS/m, a HR reduction (P < 0.05) was observed. Sleep behavior increased (P < 0.05) with the increase in SL during the day. Sleeping and drinking behaviors increased (P < 0.05), and the time of inactivity was reduced (P < 0.05) during the nocturnal period with increased SLs. With increased SLs, sheep consumed more water (P < 0.05) and reduced (P < 0.05) the number of regurgitated ruminal boluses per day (NRBD). Under the conditions of thermal stress (32.0 °C), sheep need to make physiological adjustments to maintain homeothermy. Water consumption of SLs up to 9.0 dS/m causes a higher state of dormancy in female Morada Nova sheep.


Animal environment Ethology Saline water Small ruminants Temperature and humidity index 


Funding information

This study is supported by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) through scholarship grant and research fund process no. 482955/2012-03.

Compliance with ethical standards

The research was approved by the Research Ethics Committee (CEP) of the Federal University of Campina Grande, Paraíba, Brazil, under Protocol CEP 284-2015.


  1. Al-Ramamneh D, Riek A, Gerken M (2012) Effect of water restriction on drinking behaviour and waterintake in German black-head mutton sheep and Boer goats. Animal 6(1):173–178Google Scholar
  2. ANA. National water agency (2007) Overview of the quality of groundwater in Brazil. p1–195Google Scholar
  3. Assad F, El-Sherif MMA (2002) Effect of drinking saline water and feed shortage on adaptive responses of sheep and camels. Small Rumin Res 45(2002):279–290Google Scholar
  4. Barreto LMG, Medeiros NA, Batista AMV, Furtado DA, ARaújo GGL, Lisboa ACC, Paul JLA, Souza CMS (2011) Ingestive behaviour of Moxoto and Caninde goats fed diets with two energy levels in feedlot. Braz J Anim Sci 40(4):834–842Google Scholar
  5. Canizares GIL, Gonçalves HC, Rodrigues L, Marques RO, Komiyama CM, Medeiros BBL, Gomes HFB, Arruda GMMFD (2014) Ingestive behavior of dairy goats fed increasing levels of sugarcane in replacement of corn silage. Braz J Anim Sci 43(12):648–653Google Scholar
  6. Castro DPV, Yamamoto SM, Araújo GGL, Pinheiro RSB, Queiroz MAA, Albuquerque ÍRR, Moura JHA (2017) Influence of drinking water salinity on carcass characteristics and meat quality of Santa Inês lambs. Trop Anim Health Prod 49(6):1095–1100Google Scholar
  7. Cunningham JG (2004) Treaty of veterinary physiology. 5 ed Guanabara Koogan 1-596Google Scholar
  8. De K, Kumar D, Balaganur K, Kumar Saxena V, Thirumurugan P, Khursheed Naqvi SM (2017) Effect of thermal exposure on physiological adaptability and seminal attributes of rams under semi-arid environment. J Therm Biol 65(2017):113–118Google Scholar
  9. Eustáquio Filho A, Teodoro SM, Chaves MA, Dos Santos PEF (2011) Thermal comfort zone of Santa Ines sheep based on physiological responses. Braz J Anim Sci 40(8):1807–1814Google Scholar
  10. Façanha DAE, Chaves DF, Morais JHG, Vasconcelos ÂMD, Costa WP, Guilhermino MM (2013) Methodological tendencies of adaptability evaluation to tropical environment. Braz J Anim Health and Prod 14(1):91–103Google Scholar
  11. Fahmy AA, Youssef KM, El Shaer HM (2010) Intake and nutritive value of some salt-tolerant fodder grasses forsheep under saline conditions of South Sinai, Egypt. Small Rumin Res 91(1):110–115Google Scholar
  12. Ferreira EB, Cavalcanti PP, Nogueira DA (2013) Experimental Designs pacakge (Portuguese). R package version 1.1.2Google Scholar
  13. Foster RG, Kreitzman L (2005) Rhythms of life: the biological clocks that control the daily lives of every living thing. Yale University Press, New Haven, pp 42–5841Google Scholar
  14. Frohlich ED, Chien Y, Sesoko S, Pegram BL (2018) Relationship between dietary sodium intake, hemodynamics, and cardiac mass in SHR and WKY. Am J Physiol 264(1):R30–R34Google Scholar
  15. IBGE -.Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (2015) Municipal livestock production, Rio de Janeiro, p.1–49Google Scholar
  16. Indu S, Sejian V, Naqvi MK (2014) Impact of simulated heat stress on growth, physiological adaptability, blood metabolites and endocrine responses in Malpura ewes. Anim Prod Sci 1(6):1–12Google Scholar
  17. Koukkari WL, Sothern RB (2006) The study of biological rhythms. Introducing biological rhythms. 1 ed. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 1–18Google Scholar
  18. Krause EG, de Kloet AD, Flak JN, Smeltzer MD, Solomon MB, Evanson NK, Woods SC, Sakai RR, Herman JP (2011) Hydration state controls stress responsiveness and social behavior. J Neurosci 31(14):5470–5476Google Scholar
  19. Lancel M, Krömer S, Neumann ID (2003) Intracerebral oxytocin modulates sleep–wake behaviour in male rats. Regul Pept 114(2–3):145–152Google Scholar
  20. Leite JHGM, Façanha DAE, Costa WP, Chaves DF, Guilhermino MM, Silva WST, Bermejo LA (2017) Thermoregulatory responses related to coat traits of Brazilian native ewes: an adaptive approach. J Appl Anim Res 46(12):1–7Google Scholar
  21. Lincoln GA, Richardson M (1998) Photo-neuroendocrine control of seasonal cycles in body weight, pelage growth and reproduction: lessons from the HPD sheep model. Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol 119(3):283–294Google Scholar
  22. Luke GJ (1987) Consumption of water by livestock. Resource Management Technical Report, Department of Agriculture Western Australia, Australia 1-21Google Scholar
  23. Marai AA, El-Darawany EI, Abou-Fandoud MAM, Abdel-Hafez (2006) Tonica dartos index as a parameter of adaptability of rams in sub-tropical conditions of Egypt. Anim Sci 77(2006):487–494Google Scholar
  24. Marai IFM, El-Darawany AA, Fadiel A, Abdel-Hafez MAM (2007) Physiological traits as affected by heat stress in sheep-a review. Small Rumin Res 71(1–3):1–12Google Scholar
  25. Melo DF, Furtado DA, Neto JD, Matos JJL, Leite PG, Santos RT (2017) Physiochemical quality of waters of different sources used for animal consumption in the semiarid Brazilian. Espacios 38(38):1–4Google Scholar
  26. Mendes P, Azevedo M, Lopes PMO, Moura GBA (2014) Bioclimatic zoning for Dorper sheep in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. Braz J Agric Res 49(12):986–993Google Scholar
  27. Minka NS, Ayo J (2010) Physiological responses of food animals to road transportation stress. Afr J Biotechnol 9(40):6601–6613Google Scholar
  28. Moura JHA, Araujo GGL, Saraiva EP, Albuquerque ÍRR, Turco SHN, Costa SAP, NMS (2016) Ingestive behavior of crossbred Santa Inês sheep fed water with different salinity levels. Semina: Agric Sci 37(2):1057–1068Google Scholar
  29. Murphy KR, Deshpande SA, Yurgel ME, Quinn JP, Weissbach JL, Keene AC, Dawson-Scully K, Huber R, Tomchik SM, Ja WW (2016) Postprandial sleep mechanics in Drosophila. eLife 5(11):1–19Google Scholar
  30. NRC. Nutrient requirements of small ruminants (2007) Sheep, goats, cervids, and new world camelids, p.1–362Google Scholar
  31. Ramón M, Díaz C, Pérez-Guzman MD, Carabaño MJ (2016) Effect of exposure to adverse climatic conditions on production in Manchega dairy sheep. J Dairy Sci 99(7):5764–5779Google Scholar
  32. Rodrigues RTDS, Chizzotti ML, Martins SR, Queiroz MA, Costa Busato K (2014) Digestibility, ingestive behaviour and performance of non-descript breed hair lambs of different sexual classes subjected to feed restriction. J Anim Feed Sci 23(2):117–123Google Scholar
  33. Sejian V, Maurya VP, Naqvi SMK (2010) Adaptive capability as indicated by endocrine and biochemical responses of Malpura ewes subjected to combined stresses (thermal and nutritional) in a semi-arid tropical environment. Int J Biometeorol 54(6):653–661Google Scholar
  34. Thompson GE, Thompson MK (1985) Respiratory system Young (Ed.1), Stress physiology in livestock, CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton 155–162Google Scholar
  35. Uvnas-Moberg K, Handlin L, Petersson M (2015) Self-soothing behaviors with particular reference to oxytocin release induced by non-noxious sensory stimulation. Front Psychol 59(1):1–16Google Scholar
  36. Weniger JH, Stein M (1992) Influence of environmental temperature and humidity on nutrient digestibility of sheep. 1. Aims, experimental procedure and digestibility. Zuchtungskunde 64(2):148–155Google Scholar
  37. Wood S, Loudon A (2014) Clocks for all seasons: unwinding the roles and mechanisms of circadian and interval timers in the hypothalamus and pituitary. J Endocrinol 222(2):R39–R59Google Scholar

Copyright information

© ISB 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrício Gomes Leite
    • 1
  • Jordânio Inácio Marques
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dermeval Araújo Furtado
    • 1
  • José Pinheiro Lopes Neto
    • 1
  • Bonifácio Benício de Souza
    • 1
  • José Wallace Barbosa do Nascimento
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidade Federal de Campina GrandeCampina GrandeBrazil

Personalised recommendations