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Stress hormone responses of sheep to food and water deprivation at high and low ambient temperatures

By R. F. Parrott, D. M. Lloyd, J. A. Goode

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Eight Clun Forest wethers were used to study the effects of feed and/or water deprivation at different ambient temperatures (7 or 35 degrees C) on stress hormone release. Blood samples were taken from catheterized animals at the start and at 6 h intervals during 48 h tests in an environmental chamber. Cortisol release was unaffected by temperature or deprivation state but was stimulated by introduction to the chamber. Prolactin secretion showed a similar tendency and levels of this hormone were generally higher in the first test, whichever chamber was used. Heat exposure also had a prolonged stimulatory effect on prolactin release, especially in the first test. Somatotropin concentrations were variable but tended to be greatest when the animals were deprived of food. Measurements of plasma osmolality indicated that sheep remained in water balance, even when water was withheld for 48 h, unless they had access to food. It is suggested that under laboratory conditions, and over a wide thermal range, withholding feed and water for 48 h does not induce cortisol or prolactin release in sheep. However, exposure to novel situations seems to have a stimulatory effect.

Date 1996
Publication Title Animal Welfare
Volume 5
Issue 1
Pages 45-56
ISBN/ISSN 0962-7286
Language English
Author Address MAFF Welfare and Behaviour Laboratory, Babraham Institute, Cambridge CB2 4AT, UK.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal diseases
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Animal rights
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Blood
  6. British Isles
  7. Commonwealth of Nations
  8. Dehydration
  9. Developed countries
  10. Environment
  11. Europe
  12. Food deprivation
  13. Glucocorticoids
  14. Great Britain
  15. Hormones
  16. Mammals
  17. OECD countries
  18. peer-reviewed
  19. prolactin
  20. restricted feeding
  21. Sheep
  22. starvation
  23. Stress
  24. temperatures
  25. United Kingdom
  26. water
  1. peer-reviewed