Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 701–706 | Cite as

Heat stress and effect of shade materials on hormonal and behavior response of dairy cattle: a review

  • Reena Kamal
  • Triveni Dutt
  • Manjunath Patel
  • Amitava Dey
  • Panch Kishore Bharti
  • Poolangulam Chinnakkan Chandran


In tropical countries, at high temperatures, several physiological rearrangements occur in cows as they attempt to facilitate heat dissipation and/or reduce metabolic heat production. Following exposure to heat, cattle appear to acclimatize within 2–7 weeks. The failure of homeostasis at high temperatures may lead to reduced productivity or even death. The situation is even worse when humidity adds to high temperature. Livestock with elevated body temperature exhibit lower DMI and growth with less efficiency, reducing profitability for dairy farms in hot and humid climates. Shading of feed and water also offers production advantages. Although several elaborate methods for reducing heat stress in cows have been reported, simple shade materials appear to be the most cost-effective methods that are currently applicable to tropical developing countries. Different materials are being used to provide shade during warm weather. The shade material determines the microclimate—it should be light, strong, durable, weatherproof, good looking and a bad conductor of heat, and free from tendency to condense moisture inside. This review discusses various shade materials and their advantages and disadvantages in different situations.


Heat stress Shade Behavior Dairy cattle Crossbred calves Hormone 



The authors are thankful to the Director, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, for providing all the necessary facilities for collecting the references. The authors are also thankful to the Director, ICAR-RCER, Patna, for giving the valuable time and suggestion to complete this review paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Allen, J.D., Hall, L.W., Collier, R. J and Smith, J. F., 2015. Effect of core body temperature, time of day, and climate conditions on behavioral patterns of lactating dairy cows experiencing mild to moderate heat stress. Journal of Dairy Science 98, 18–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baumgard, L. H., and Rhoads, R. P., 2012. Ruminant nutrition symposium: Ruminant production and metabolic responses to heat stress. Journal of Animal Science 90, 1855–1865.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Berman, A. and Horovitz, T., 2012. Radiant heat loss, an unexploited path for heat stress reduction in shaded cattle. Journal of Dairy Science 95(6), 3021–31.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Coleman, D. A., Moss, B. R. and McCaskey, T. A., 1996. Supplemental shade for dairy calves reared in commercial calf hutches in a southern climate. Journal of Dairy Science 79, 2038–2043.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Collier, R., Beede, D.K., Thatcher, W.W., Israel, L.A. and Wilcox, C.J., 1982. Influence of environment and its modification on dairy animal health and production. Journal of Dairy Science 65, 2213–2227.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Habeeb, A., Narai, A.N. and Kama, T.H., 1992. Heat stress in farm animals and the environment. In: C. Phillips and Dairy Piggins, B. (eds): International Willingford, UK, pp 27–47.Google Scholar
  7. Haley, D.B., Passille, A.M. and De-Rushen, J., 2001. Assessing cow comfort: effect of two tie stall designs on the behaviour of lactating dairy cows. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 71 (2), 105–117.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Hassan, S.A., Ward, W.R. and Murray, R.D., 1993. Effects of lamencss on the behaviour of cows during summer. Veterinary Record 132, 578–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hemsworth, P.H., Banetta, J.L., Beveridge, L., Matthews, L.R., 1995. The welfare of extensively managed dairy cattle: a review. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 42, 161–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Horowitz, M., 2001. Heat acclimation: phenotypic plasticity and cues underlying the molecular mechanism. Journal of Thermal Biology 26, 357–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kamal, R., 2013. Effect of different shade material on performance of vrindavani calves, (unpublished data from Ph.D. thesis, Deemed University, IVRI Izatnagar, Bareilly U.P. India).Google Scholar
  12. Kamal, R., Dutt, T., Patel, B. H. M, Singh, G., Chandran, P. C., Dey, A. and Barari, S. K., 2016a. Effect of shade materials on rectal temperature, respiration rate and body surface temperature of crossbred calves during rainy season. Indian Journal of Animal Sciences 86 (1), 75–81.Google Scholar
  13. Kamal, R., Dutt, T., Patel, M., Dey, A., Chandran, P. C., Bharti, P.K., and Barari, S.K., 2016b. Behavioural, biochemical and hormonal responses of heat-stressed crossbred calves to different shade materials. Journal of Applied Animal Research 44(1), 347–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kaur, P and Singh, J., 2004. Effect of building design on thermal comfort inside different dairy shelters. Livestock International 8(4), 5–10.Google Scholar
  15. Kendall, P.E., Nielsen, P.P., Webster, J.R., Verkerk, G.A., Littlejohn, R.P. and Matthews, L.R., 2006. The effects of providing shade to lactating dairy cows in a temperate climate. Livestock Science 103, 148–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Krishnan, G., Bagath M., Pragna, P., Vidya, M. K., Aleena, J., Archana, P. R., Veerasamy, S. and Bhatta, R., 2017. Mitigation of the Heat stress Impact in Livestock Reproduction. Available online at DOI: Scholar
  17. Mader, T.L., Fell, L.R. and McPhee, M.J., 1997. Behavior response of non-Brahman cattle to shade in commerical feedlots. Livestock Environment 5, 795–802.Google Scholar
  18. McManus, C., Castanheira, M., Paiva, S.R., Louvandini, H., Fiorvanti, M.C.S., Paludo, G.R, Oliveira EMB and Corrêa PS 2011. Use of multivariate analyses for determining heat tolerance in Brazilian cattle. Tropical Animal Health and Production 43, 623–630.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Munksgaard, L. and Lovendahl, P., 1993. Effects of social and physical stressors on growth hormone levels in dairy cows. Canadian Journal of Animal Sciences 73, 847–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Overton, M.W., Sischo, W.M., Temple, G.D., Moore, D.A., 2002. Using time-lapse video photography to assess dairy cattle lying behavior in a free-stall barn. Journal of Dairy Science 85, 2407–2413.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Pusta, D., Odagiu, A., Ersek, A. and Pascal, I., 2003. The variation of triiodothyronine (T3) level in milking cows exposed to direct solar radiation. Journal of Central European Agriculture 4, 308–312.Google Scholar
  22. Renaudeau, D., Collin, A., Yahav, S., de Basilio, V., Gourdine, J.L., Collier, R.J., 2012. Adaptation to hot climate and strategies to alleviate heat stress in livestock production. Animal 6, 707–728.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Roger A. Eigenberg, Tami M. Brown-Brandl, 2011. Shade Material Evaluation based on physiological response of cattle. Louisville, Kentucky, August 7–10, 1111184.Google Scholar
  24. Roy, P.K. and Chatterjee, A., 2010. Effect of different type of dairy cattle shelters on micro-climatic variables in rural West Bengal. Indian Journal of Animal Science 80(8), 781–784.Google Scholar
  25. Rulquin, H. and Caudal, I.P., 1992. Effects of lying or standing on mammary blood flow and heart rate in dairy cows. Annales de Zootechnie 41, 101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Schütz, K.E., Cox, N.R. and Matthews, L.R., 2008. How important is shade to dairy cattle? Choice between shade or lying following different levels of lying deprivation. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 114, 307–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Schütz, K. E., Rogers, A. R., Cox, N. R. and Tucker, C. B., 2009. Dairy cows prefer shade that offers greater protection against solar radiation in summer: Shade use, behaviour, and body temperature. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 116, 28–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Schütz, K. E., Rogers, A. R., Poulouin, Y. A., Cox, N. R., and Tucker, C. B., 2010. The amount of shade influences the behavior and physiology of dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science 93,125–133.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Schütz, K.E., Cox, N.R and Tucker, C.B., 2014. A field study of the behavioral and physiological effects of varying amounts of shade for lactating cows at pasture. Journal of Dairy Science 97, 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sharma, P and Singh, K., 2002. Effect of shelter systems on environmental variables, Indian Journal of Animal Science 72(9), 806–809.Google Scholar
  31. Shearer, J.K., Bray, D.R. and Bucklin, R.A., 1999. The management of heat stress in dairy cattle: What we have learned in Florida. In: Proceedings of the feed and nutritional management cow college, Virginia Tech, pp 1–13.Google Scholar
  32. Silanikove, N., 2000. Effects of heat stress on the welfare of extensively managed domestic ruminants. Livestock Production Science 67, 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Silanikove, N., Shapiro, F., and Shinder, D. 2009. Acute heat stress brings down milk secretion in dairy cows by up-regulating the activity of the milk-borne negative feedback regulatory system. BioMed Central Physiology 9, 13.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  34. Singh, K., Kumar, P., Saini, A.L. and Bhattacharyya, N.K., 1989. Micro-climate within three types of literoof sheds in hot semi-arid zone. Indian Journal of Animal Science 59 (8), 997–1005.Google Scholar
  35. Singh, D.N., Wadhmani, K.S., Arya, J.S., Sarvaiya, N.P. and Patel, A.M., 2008. Effect of blood constitute of ewes during summer in a subtropical climate. Journal of Small Ruminants 14(1), 252–254.Google Scholar
  36. Tucker, C.B., Rogers, A.R. and Schütz, K.E., 2008. Effect of solar radiation on dairy cattle behaviour, use of shade and body temperature in a pasture-based system. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 109, 141–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ulvshammar K., 2014. Effects of shade on milk production in Swedish dairy cows on pasture. Available online at
  38. Vazhapilly, P., Eruzi, E., Lonlbardelli, R., Mainti, M.G. and Cappa, V., 1990. Effect of microclimate on the physiological and metabolical responses of dairy cows and on milk quality. In: fide Dairy Science Abstracts 55, 48.Google Scholar
  39. Vijayakumar, P., Pandey, H.N., Singh, M., Dutt, T., Tomar, A.K.S., 2009. Behavioural response to heat ameliorative measures on buffalo heifers. Indian Journal of Animal Sciences 79, 433–436.Google Scholar
  40. Vizzotto, E. F., Fischer, V., Thaler Neto, A., Abreu, A. S., Stumpf, M. T., Werncke, D., Schmidt, F. A and McManus, C. M., 2015. Access to shade changes behavioral and physiological attributes of dairy cows during the hot season in the subtropics. Animal 9 (9), 1559–1566.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Widowski, T., 2001. Shade seeking behaviour of rotationally grazed cows and calves in a moderate climate. In: Livestock environment VI. Proceeding of the 6th International Symposium, Louisville, KY. RR. Stowell, R. Bucklin and R.W. Bottcher, ed. ASAE Publication No. 701P0201. ASAE, st. Joseph, MV. pp 632–639.Google Scholar
  42. Wise, M.E., Arllistrong, D.V., Huber, J.T., Hunter, R. and Weirsma, F., 1988. Hormonal alterations in the lactating dairy cows in respons to thermal stress. Journal of Dairy Science 71(3), 2480–85.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Yazdani, A.R. and Gupta, L.R., 2000. Effect of Housing and feeding system on Feed Utilization and Physiological Responses in Crossbred Calves. Indian Journal of Dairy Science 53, 88–92.Google Scholar
  44. Yousef, H.M., Habeeb, A.A. and El-Kousey, H., 1997. Body weight gain and some physiological changes in Friesian calves protected with wood or reinforced concrete sheds during hot summer season of Egypt. Egyptian Journal of Animal Production 34(2), 89–101.Google Scholar
  45. Zhenkov, Z., Videv, V. and Krastev, M., 1996. The effect of pasture on some productive and biological characteristics of cows under sheds Behavioral reactions and blood parameters. Zhivotnov Dani nauki 33(4), 8–11.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reena Kamal
    • 1
    • 2
  • Triveni Dutt
    • 1
  • Manjunath Patel
    • 1
  • Amitava Dey
    • 2
  • Panch Kishore Bharti
    • 1
  • Poolangulam Chinnakkan Chandran
    • 2
  1. 1.Indian Veterinary Research InstituteBareillyIndia
  2. 2.ICAR Research Complex for Eastern RegionPatnaIndia

Personalised recommendations