Experiments were performed with the aim of determining diurnal fluctuations in rectal temperature (RT),respiratory rate (RR) and heart rate (HR) of Yankasa sheep, and the effect of feed and water deprivation on the physiological parameters. On the experimental day, seven experimental sheep were deprived of feed and water for 12 h, while four control sheep were given access to feed and water ad libitum. The RT, RR and HR of all the sheep were measured using standard procedures. The RT rose gradually from its minimum values of 39.0 ± 0.3 and 39.1 ± 0.2 0C at 07:00 h in experimental and control sheep, respectively, and attained peak values of 39.5 ± 0.3 and 39.7 ± 0.2 0C at 18:00 hours in the experimental and control animals, respectively. There was a significant (P < 0.05) and positive correlation between hour of the day and RT values in experimental and control sheep (r = 0.640 and 0.769, respectively). The RR and HR values of experimental sheep (30.1 ± 0.5 breaths/min and 88.6 ± 1.3 beats/min, respectively) were not significantly different from those of control sheep; 30.5 ± 0.8 breaths/min and 89.2 ± 1.6 beats/min, respectively. In conclusion, meteorological parameters, feed and water deprivation exerted significant influence on RT, RR and HR in Yankasa sheep, and they should be considered whenever the physiological parameters are measured in the breed, even during the rainy season.
Key words: Diurnal fluctuations, rectal temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate.
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