De, K., Sharma, S., Kumar Kumawat, P. et al. 2020. Provision of desert cooler in shed of ewes during summer in hot semi-arid region. Journal of Veterinary Behavior 37, 76-80.
In hot arid and semi-arid regions, heat stress is a major constraint in animal production due to prolonged summers with high temperatures. In dairy husbandry, the desert cooler and evaporative cooling system are effectively used to reduce heat stress. However, the effectiveness of desert coolers on sheep under the hot semi-arid region during summer is not explored. Therefore, the present study was carried out to assess the effect of the provision of the desert cooler in a shed of ewes during the summer in the hot semi-arid region. For this purpose, 20 acyclic Malpura adult ewes having bodyweight 30.29 ± 0.5 kg of 2- to 3-year-old were selected from the experimental animal flock. The ewes were equally divided into two groups, namely G1 (control) and G2 (desert cooler). Ewes of both groups were kept in a roofed shed, with mud-floored and four sides covered with the chain-linked fence. The ewes of G2 were provided with a desert cooler from morning 09:00 h to evening 18:00 h. Ewes of both the groups were provided with an ad libitum diet consisting of 70% roughage (Cenchrus ciliaris hay) and 30% concentrate feed. The meteorological parameters were recorded daily in the morning and afternoon. The body weight and physiological response were recorded on a weekly basis. The blood sample was collected at weekly intervals to estimate blood biochemical and endocrine parameters. The data were analyzed using a general linear model. The maximum temperature, relative humidity, and temperature-humidity index in the afternoon were significantly (P < 0.01) lower in G2 shed where the desert cooler was used as compared to G1 shed. The respiration rate and skin temperature in the afternoon were significantly (P < 0.05) lower in G2 ewes as compared to G1. The plasma glucose and triidothyronine levels were significantly (P < 0.05) higher in G1 as compared to G2. Other blood biochemical, endocrine, and reproductive parameters did not vary (P > 0.05) between the groups. The present study clearly established that the provision of the desert cooler in sheep sheds created a better microenvironment for sheep, leading to improved physiological responses to heat stress as compared to sheep kept without desert cooler. However, the well-adapted native adult sheep of the hot semi-arid region are well versed in combat heat stress in the natural summer of a hot semi-arid region.