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Scientia Agricola

versão On-line ISSN 1678-992X

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PAIM, Tiago do Prado et al. Thermal comfort index and infrared temperatures for lambs subjected to different environmental conditions. Sci. agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.) [online]. 2014, vol.71, n.5, pp.356-361. ISSN 1678-992X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0103-9016-2013-0191.

There is an abundance of thermal indices with different input parameters and applicabilities. Infrared thermography is a promising technique for evaluating the response of animals to the environment and differentiating between genetic groups. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate superficial body temperatures of lambs from three genetic groups under different environmental conditions, correlating these with thermal comfort indices. Forty lambs (18 males and 22 females) from three genetic groups (Santa Inês, Ile de France × Santa Inês and Dorper × Santa Inês) were exposed to three climatic conditions: open air, housed and artificial heating. Infrared thermal images were taken weekly at 6h, 12h and 21h at the neck, front flank, rear flank, rump, nose, skull, trunk and eye. Four thermal comfort indices were calculated using environmental measurements including black globe temperature, air humidity and wind speed. Artificial warming, provided by infrared lamps and wind protection, conserved and increased the superficial body temperature of the lambs, thus providing lower daily thermal ranges. Artificial warming did not influence daily weight gain or mortality. Skin temperatures increased along with increases in climatic indices. Again, infrared thermography is a promising technique for evaluating thermal stress conditions and differentiating environments. However, the use of thermal imaging for understanding animal responses to environmental conditions requires further study.

Palavras-chave : Brazilian savanna; bioclimatology; thermal stress; wind protection; artificial warming.

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