Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 164, Issue 1, pp 69–75

The development of thermoregulation in turkey and guinea fowl hatchlings: similarities and differences

  • M. W. Dietz
  • M. van Kampen

DOI: 10.1007/BF00714573

Cite this article as:
Dietz, M.W. & van Kampen, M. J Comp Physiol B (1994) 164: 69. doi:10.1007/BF00714573


The development of thermoregulation was studied in turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo, 60.5 g) and guinea fowl (Numida meleagris, 33.5 g) from 2 to 24 h after hatching. Thermoregulation was measured at different ages during 1 h of cold exposure (20°C). Final body temperature rose linearly with age in turkeys, but reached a plateau in guinea fowl between 12 and 16 h. At 2 h after hatch final body temperature was highest in guinea fowl, while at 24 h after hatch there was no difference between the species. The development of mass-specific metabolic rate with age resembled the pattern of final body temperature. At 2 h post-hatch mass-specific metabolic rate was highest in guinea fowl; however, at 24 h post-hatch there was no difference between the species. since mass-specific metabolic rate reached a plateau in guinea fowl at 16 h. In turkeys mass-specific dry thermal conductance decreased with age initially, while in guinea fowl it remained stable. Nevertheless, at both 2 and 24 h after hatch mass-specific wet conductance did not differ significantly between the species. In turkeys mass-specific wet conductance increased initially. This increase in mass-specific wet conductance may be due to the rapid onset of feather growth in turkeys. The O2 consumption per breath doubled during the first 24 h in turkeys but remained stable in guine fowl. This suggests that at least two different developmental patterns of O2 intake exist within Galliformes. The results show that 2 h post-hatch the thermoregulatory ability was lowest in turkeys, despite their larger body mass. However, at 24 h post-hatch the difference between the species was not significant, because the thermoregulatory ability had increased more in turkeys.

Key words

Thermoregulation Metabolic rate Thermal conductance Breathing frequency Galliform hatchlings 



breathing frequency


body mass


basal metabolic rate


mass-specific dry thermal conductance


mass-specific wet thermal conductance


homeothermy index


evaporative heat loss


loss of stored body heat


metabolic rate


mass-specific metabolic rate


relative humidity


ambient temperature


initial body temperature


final body temperature


volume oxygen consumed


volume carbon dioxide produced

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. W. Dietz
    • 1
  • M. van Kampen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Veterinary Basic Sciences, Division PhysiologyUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands