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Heat tolerance and the effects of shade on the behavior of Simmental bulls on pasture

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The objectives were to assess the degree of thermolysis capacity as a characteristic of heat tolerance of the Simmental beef cattle and evaluate the effects of shade and shade type (artificial: AS, trees: TS, or no shade: NS) on daily behavior patterns during summer. Black globe temperature (BGT) was different under the two types of shade (P < 0.05) and was lower under the TS (P < 0.01) and under AS (P > 0.01) than average BGT in the sun. Animals when in AS used more intensely the shade (P = 0.002) mostly lying down under it (10.00–14.00 hours), while time standing was similar (P = 0.107) between TS and NS. Bulls without shade (NS) spent significantly more time at the water trough and most part of the day standing idle (72.4%, 10.1 h/14 h). TS bulls spent more time grazing/standing (P < 0.001). The Simmental bulls that were in TS and AS spent more time ruminating than bulls that stay without shade (NS). The availability of shade changes grazing, rumination and idling behavior of cattle in response to environmental conditions. Shade provided by trees can be more efficient than artificial shading as cattle spent more time grazing when tree shade was available. Thermolysis capacity can be used to select heat‐tolerant animals.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Biometeorology and Ethology, Faculdade de Zootecnia e Engenharia de Alimentos/FZEA, Pirassununga, SP, Brazil, Universidade de São Paulo/USP 2: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz/ESALQ, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil

Publication date: August 1, 2011

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