Shearing is one of the practices that is applied periodically to fiber producing animals, which can also alter resistance of animals to high temperatures in especially summer months. This study aimed to investigate effects of shearing on some physiological and hormonal parameters in Akkaraman sheep during summer season.
39 non-pregnant Akkaraman ewes (aged 1.5 years at the beginning of experiment) were used in this study. The 39 ewes were chosen randomly from the flock belonging to the Erciyes University and they were assigned to two groups as follows: 1) group A (n=20) designed as the control group, they were shorn and group B (n=19) designed as the experimental group, they were unshorn. Prior to the shearing (-1 day) and on days 1, 7, 15, 30, 45, 60, 75 and 90 following the shearing, blood samples were taken from the vena jugularis of each sheep. Cortisol, β-Endorphin, growth hormone (GH), thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3) and heat shock protein 70 (HSP-70) concentrations were determined using the enzyme immunoassay (EIA) method. Body weight (BW), rectal temperature (RT), pulse rate (PR) and respiratory rate (RR) of each sheep were recorded at the same time. The data obtained were analyzed using two-way repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA).
Statistical analysis showed a significant effect of shearing x period interaction (p<0.01) and a significant effect of period (p<0.01) on BW, HSP-70, cortisol, T4 and RT, PR, GH, β-Endorphin, T3, respectively. Also these analysis showed no significant effect of shearing x period interaction or period on RR.
The results showed that the thermoregulation abilities of sheep were affected by shearing treatment and the shorn ewes were more effected by heat stress. In conclusion, based on the data of this study, shearing can be considered as a necessary management practice that requires protection for sheep from the effect of heat stress.