Thermoregulatory responses of goats in hot environments
Data de publicação2015
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Notwithstanding the solar radiation is recognized as a detrimental factor to the thermal balance and responses of animals on the range in tropical conditions, studies on the amount of thermal radiation absorbed by goats therein associated with data on their production and heat exchange are still lacking. Metabolic heat production and the heat exchange of goats in the sun and in the shade were measured simultaneously, aiming to observe its thermal equilibrium. The results showed that black goats absorb twice as much as the white goats under intense solar radiation (higher than 800 W m(-2)). This observation leads to a higher surface temperature of black goats, but it must not be seen as a disadvantage, because they increase their sensible heat flow in the coat-air interface, especially the convection heat flow at high wind speeds. In the shade, no difference between the coat colours was observed and both presented a lower absorption of heat and a lower sensible heat flow gain. When solar radiation levels increases from 300 to 1000 W m(-2), we observed an increase of the heat losses through latent flow in both respiratory and cutaneous surface. Cutaneous evaporation was responsible for almost 90 % of the latent heat losses, independently of the coat colour. Goats decrease the metabolic heat production under solar radiation levels up to 800 W m(-2), and increase in levels higher than this, because there is an increase of the respiratory rate and of the respiratory flow, but the fractions of consumed oxygen and produced carbon dioxide are maintained stable. The respiratory rate of black goats was higher than the white ones, under 300 W m(-2) (55 and 45 resp min(-1)) and 1000 W m(-2) (120 and 95 resp min(-1), respectively). It was concluded that shade or any protection against solar radiation levels above 800 Wm(-2) is critical to guarantee goat's thermal equilibrium. Strategies concerning the grazing period in accordance with the time of the day alone are not appropriate, because the levels of radiation depend on the latitude of the location.