Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 191–204 | Cite as

Thermoregulation and Water Balance as Affected by Water and Food Restrictions in Sudanese Desert Goats Fed Good-quality and Poor-quality Diets

  • Muna M.M. Ahmed
  • I.M. El Kheir


Nine desert goats were used in a 3×3 Latin square design in which they were subjected to (a) ad libitum water and food (control), (b) ad libitum food and water restricted to about 40% of the control, and (c) ad libitum water and restricted food (same amount as given to group b). Parameters measured were dry matter intake (DMI), water intake, rectal temperature (Tr), respiration rate (RR), water balance and body weight (BW) changes. The acute effects of the above treatments on these parameters were monitored during the dry summer using two types of feed. The ratio of DMI to water intake decreased (p<0.01) due to water restriction but increased (p<0.01) with Lucerne hay compared to grass hay. With both feeds, BW decreased (p<0.01) with water restriction, with a further decrease (p<0.01) observed with food restriction. The control group showed a higher (p<0.01) gain with Lucerne hay than grass hay. Tr and RR increased (p<0.01) from morning to afternoon; Tr decreased due to food restriction during both morning and afternoon with Lucerne hay (p<0.05) and grass hay (p<0.05), whereas RR decreased (p<0.01) with both types of feeds. For all groups of animals, Tr was higher (p<0.05) with Lucerne hay than with grass hay, this effect being more pronounced (p<0.01) with the control group. With both feeds, water restriction decreased (p<0.01) water turnover rate and evaporative losses, with decreased (p<0.05) faecal losses observed in the water-restricted groups on Lucerne hay but higher (p<0.05) losses of urine. The tolerance of desert goats to thermal stress and their coping with shortage of water and food depended on their capacity to lose heat through panting and cutenaous evaporation as well as their ability to concentrate urine.

desert goats thermoregulation water balance 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ali, E.A., Mousa, H.M. and Humes, I.D., 1982. The total water and water economy in camels, desert goats and sheep during water restriction and deprivation. Ingostav Physiology and Pharmacology Acta, 18, 229-236Google Scholar
  2. AOAC, 1980. Association of Official Analytical Chemists. Methods of Analysis, (AOAC, Washington DC)Google Scholar
  3. Balch, C.C., Balch, D.A., Johnson, V.W. and Jill, T., 1953. Factors affecting the utilization of food by dairy cows. The effect of limited water intake on digestibility and rate of passage of hay. British Journal of Nutrition, 7, 212-224Google Scholar
  4. Bligh, J., 1972. Evaporative heat loss in hot environments. Symposia of the Zoological Society of London, 31, 357-369Google Scholar
  5. Bohra, H.C. and Gosh, P.K., 1983. Nitrogen metabolism in water-restricted Marwari sheep of the Indian desert. Journal of Agricultural Science (Cambridge), 101, 735-739Google Scholar
  6. Brosh, A., Shkolink, A. and Choshniak, J., 1983. Drinking regime, digestibility and energy metabolism in black Bedouin goats. Israel Journal of Zoology, 32, 154-159Google Scholar
  7. Choshniak, I., Brosh, A. and Shkolnik, A., 1988. Productivity of Bedouin goats coping with shortages of water and adequate food. In: Isotope-aided Studies on Livestock Production in Mediterranean and North African Countries. Proceedings of the Final Research Coordination Meeting, Rabat, 1987, (FAO/IAEA, Geneva), 47-64Google Scholar
  8. Devendra, C. and Burns, M., 1970. Goat Production in the Tropics, (Technical Community Bureau and Animal Genetics, Edinburgh)Google Scholar
  9. English, P.B., 1966. Water and electrolyte balance in sheep. External balance of water, sodium, potassium and chloride. Research in Veterinary Science, 7, 233-257Google Scholar
  10. Forbes, J.M., 1968. The water intake of ewes. British Journal of Nutrition, 22, 33-43Google Scholar
  11. Huston, J.E., 1978. Forage utilization and nutrient requirement of goats. Journal of Dairy Science, 61, 988-995Google Scholar
  12. Kamal, T.H., Shehata, O. and Elbanna, I.M., 1972. Effects of heat and water restriction on water metabolism and body fluid compartments in farm animals. In: Isotope Studies on the Physiology of Domestic Animals, Symposium, Athens, (FAO/IAEA, Geneva), 95-100Google Scholar
  13. Khan, M.S., Gosh, P.K. and Sasidharan, T.O., 1978. Effect of acute water restriction on plasma and blood urinary electrolytes in Barmar goats of Rajastan desert. Journal of Agricultural Science (Cambridge), 9, 395-398Google Scholar
  14. Macfarlane, W.V. and Howard, B., 1966. Water turnover of identical twins, Bos indicus and Bos taurus in Kenya. Journal of Agricultural Science (Cambridge), 66, 297-302Google Scholar
  15. Macfarlane, W.V. and Howard, B., 1972. Comparative water and energy of wild and domestic mammals. Symposia of the Zoological Society of London, 31, 261-269Google Scholar
  16. Maloiy, G.M., 1970. Water economy of the Somali donkey. Journal of Animal Physiology, 219, 1522-1527Google Scholar
  17. Maloiy, G.M. and Taylor, C.R., 1970. Water requirement of African haired-sheep. Journal of Agricultural Science (Cambridge), 77, 203-208Google Scholar
  18. Mead, R. and Curnow, R.W., 1983. Statistical Methods in Experimental and Agricultural Biology, (Chapman and Hall, London)Google Scholar
  19. Morris, R.J., Macfarlane, W.V. and Howard, B., 1962. Interaction of nutrition and air temperature with water metabolism of Merino wethers shorn in winter. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 13, 320-334Google Scholar
  20. Osman, E. and Fadlalla, B., 1974. The effect of level of water intake on some aspects of digestion and nitrogen metabolism of desert sheep of the Sudan. Journal of Agricultural Science (Cambridge), 82, 61-69Google Scholar
  21. Schoen, A., 1968. Studies on the water balance of the East African goats. East African Journal of Agriculture, 34, 256-262Google Scholar
  22. Seely, M.K. and Louw, G.N., 1980. First approximation of the effect of rainfall on the ecology and energetics of a Namib Desert dune ecosystem. Journal of Arid Environments, 3, 25-54Google Scholar
  23. Shkolnik, A. and Choshniak, J., 1972. Water economy of the Bedouin goats. Symposia of the Zoological Society of London, 31, 229-242Google Scholar
  24. Silankove, N., 1987. Effect of imposed reduction of energy intake of resting and fasting heat production in black Bedouin desert goats. International Nutrition Reports, 35, 725-731Google Scholar
  25. Sinclair, A.R.E. and Fryxell, J.M., 1985. The Sahel of Africa. Ecology of a disaster. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 63, 987-994Google Scholar
  26. Springell, P.H., 1968. Water content and water turnover in beef cattle. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 19, 129-144Google Scholar
  27. Taylor, C.R., Spinage, C.A. and Layman, C.P., 1969. Water relations on East African antelope. Journal of Animal Physiology, 217, 1131-1135Google Scholar
  28. Van Soest, P., 1983. Nutrition Ecology of Ruminants, (O & B Books Inc., Corvallis, OR)Google Scholar
  29. Vercoe, J.E., 1967. Breed and nutrition effect on the composition of faeces, urine and plasma from Hereford and Brahman × Hereford steers fed on high and low quality diets. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 39, 93-96Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muna M.M. Ahmed
    • 1
  • I.M. El Kheir
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Environmental StudiesUniversity of KhartoumKhartoumSudan
  2. 2.University of El Zaeim El AsariKhartoumSudan

Personalised recommendations