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Author (up) Brinkmann, L.; Gerken, M.; Hambly, C.; Speakman, J.R.; Riek, A.
Title Saving energy during hard times: Energetic adaptations of Shetland pony mares Type Journal Article
Year 2014 Publication The Journal of Experimental Biology Abbreviated Journal J. Exp. Biol.
Volume 217 Issue Pages 4320-4327
Abstract Recent results suggest that wild Northern herbivores reduce their metabolism during times of low ambient temperatures and food shortage in order to reduce their energetic needs. It is however not known if domesticated animals are also able to reduce their energy expenditure. We exposed ten Shetland pony mares to different environmental conditions (summer and winter) and to two food quantities (60 and 100% of maintenance energy requirement, respectively) during low winter temperatures to examine energetic and behavioural responses. In summer ponies showed a considerably higher field metabolic rate (FMR) (63.4±15.0 MJ d-1) compared to restrictively fed and control animals in winter (24.6±7.8 MJ d-1 and 15.0±1.1 MJ d-1, respectively). During summer conditions locomotor activity, resting heart rates and total water turnover were considerably elevated (P<0.001) compared to winter. Restrictively fed animals (N=5) compensated for the decreased energy supply by reducing their FMR by 26% compared to control animals (N=5). Furthermore, resting heart rate, body mass and body condition score were lower (29.2±2.7 beats min-1; 140±22 kg; 3.0±1.0 points) than in control animals (36.8±41 beats min-1; 165 ±31 kg; 4.4±0.7 points; P<0.05). While the observed behaviour did not change, nocturnal hypothermia was elevated. We conclude that ponies acclimatize to different climatic conditions by changing their metabolic rate, behaviour and some physiological parameters. When exposed to energy challenges, ponies, like wild herbivores, exhibited hypometabolism and nocturnal hypothermia.
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Notes 10.1242/jeb.111815 Approved no
Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 5836
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