Heat Production Partition in Sheep Fed above Maintenance from Indirect Calorimetry Data


The objective of this study is to compare the partition of heat energy (HE) in two sheep breeds by indirect calorimetry and integral calculus. An experiment was conducted with two Spanish native sheep breeds (dry and non-pregnant) which were fed with pelleted mixed diets above maintenance. Six Guirras and six Manchegas breed sheep were selected (58.8 ± 3.1 and 60.2 ± 3.2 kg body weight, respectively). All sheep were fed with the same concentrate mixed ration (0.300 kg cereal straw as forage and 0.700 kg concentrate) in two meals. Half the daily ration was offered at 800 h and another half at 1600 h. The sheep had free access to water. Sheep were allocated in metabolic cages; energy balance and gas exchange were assessed in each sheep. The statistical analyses included the fixed effect of breed and random effect of sheep. The metabolic energy (ME) for maintenance represented 69% of the total ME intake and the average was 354 kJ per kg of metabolic body weight (kg0.75 BW) on average. The basal metabolism (HeE) was greater (P < 0.05) in Guirra than Manchega breed (270 ± 18 vs. 247 ± 15 kJ/kg0.75 BW and day). As sheep were fed with above maintenance, the retained energy in the body accounted for 22% of the ME intake and 77% of the ME intake was lost as heat. 51% of the MEI was converted to HeE; 5% was lost as physical activity of standing and lying down (HjE), and 13% was associated with the process of feeding and work of digestion and metabolism (HdE). Within HdE, 47% represented the cost of intake and feeding and 54% the cost of digestion and metabolism. No differences in HE partition between breeds were found, although Guirra breed showed less efficiency of energy retention than Manchega breed. Therefore, this study demonstrated a tentative approach of partitioning HE, combining indirect calorimetry and integral calculus.

Share and Cite:

Criscioni, P. , del Carmen López, M. , Zena, V. and Fernández, C. (2015) Heat Production Partition in Sheep Fed above Maintenance from Indirect Calorimetry Data. Open Journal of Animal Sciences, 5, 86-98. doi: 10.4236/ojas.2015.52011.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] National Research Council (NRC) (1981) Nutritional Energetics of Domestics Animals and Glossary of Energy Terms. National Academy Science Letters, Washintong DC.
[2] Lachica, M., Prieto, C. and Aguilera, J.F. (1997) The Energy of Walking on the Level and on Negative and Positive Slopes in the Granadina Goat (Capra hircus). British Journal of Nutrition, 77, 73-81.
[3] Van Klinken, J.B., Van den Berg, S.A.A., Havekes, L.M. and Van Dijk, K.W. (2012) Estimation of Activity Related Energy Expenditure and Resting Metabolic Rate in Freely Moving Mice from Indirect Calorimetry Data. PLoS ONE, 7, e36162.
[4] European Union (EU) (2003) Protection of Animals Used for Experimental Purposes. Council Directive 86/609/EEC of 24 November 1986, Amended 16.9.2003. European Council, Brussels.
[5] Asociación de Criadores de Raza Guirra (ANCRG) (2014)
[6] Asociación de Criadores de Raza Manchega (AGRAMA) (2014)
[7] Calsamiglia, S., Bach, A., de Blas, C., Fernández, C. and García-Rebollar, P. (2009) Necesidades nutricionales para rumiantes de leche. Fundación Española para el desarrollo de la Nutrición Animal, Madrid.
[8] Fernández, C., López, M.C. and Lachica, M. (2012) Description and Function of a Mobile Open-Circuit Respirometry System to Measure Gas Exchange in Small Ruminants. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 172, 242-246.
[9] McLean, J.A. and Tobin, G. (1987) Animal and Human Calorimetry. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
[10] Brockway, J.M., Boyne, A.W. and Gordon, J.G. (1971) Simultaneous Calibration of Gas Analyzers and Meters. Journal of Applied Physiology, 31, 296-297.
[11] Aguilera, J.F. and Prieto, C. (1986) Description and Function of an Open-Circuit Respiration Plant for Pigs and Small Ruminants and the Techniques Used to Measure Energy Metabolism. Archives of Animal Nutrition, 11, 1009-1018.
[12] Association of Official Analytical Chemists (2000) Official Methods of Analysis.17th Edition, AOAC, Arlington.
[13] Mertens, D.R. (2002) Gravimetric Determination of Amylase-Treated Neutral Detergent Fibre in Feeds with Refluxing Beakers or Crucibles: Collaborative Study. Journal of AOAC International, 85, 1217-1240.
[14] Batey, I.L. (1982) Starch Analysis Using Thermostable Alpha-Amylases. Stach/Stärke, 34, 125-128.
[15] Jouany, J.P. (1982) Volatile Fatty Acid and Alcohol Determination in Digestive Contents, Silage Juices, Bacterial Cultures and Anaerobic Fermentor Contents. Sciences des Aliments, 2, 131-144.
[16] Brouwer, E. (1965) Report of Sub-Committee on Constants and Factors. In: Blaxter, K.L., Ed., Proceedings of the 3rd Symposium on Energy Metabolism, Academic Press, London, 441-443.
[17] Brouwer, E. (1958) On Simple Formulae for Calculating the Heat Expenditure and the Quantities of Carbohydrate and Fat Metabolized in Ruminants, from Data on Gaseous Exchange and Urine N. In: Proceedings of the 1st Symposium on Energy Metabolism, Academic Press, London, 182-194.
[18] Chwalibog, A., Tauson, A.H. and Thorbek, G. (1997) Quantitative Oxidation of Nutrients in Growing Calves. Zeitschrift für ernährungswissenschaft, 36, 313-316.
[19] Fahey, G.C. and Berger, L.L. (1988) Carbohydrate Nutrition of Ruminants. In: Church, D.C., Ed., The Ruminant Animal, Digestive Physiology and Nutrition, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliff, 269-297.
[20] Agricultural and Food Research Council (AFRC) (1993) Agricultural and Food Research Council. Energy and Protein Requirements of Ruminants. CAB International, Wallingford, UK.
[21] Baldwin, R.L. (1995) Modeling Ruminant Digestion and Metabolism. Chapman and Hall, London, 578 p.
[22] Osuji, P.O., Gordon, J.G. and Webster, A.J.F. (1975) Energy Exchanges Associated with Eating and Rumination of Sheep Given Grass Diets of Different Physical Form. British Journal of Nutrition, 34, 59-71.
[23] SAS, Statistical Analysis System (2001) User’s Guide, Version 8.02. Statistical Analysis System Institute Inc., Cary.
[24] Blaxter, K.L. (1967) Techniques in Energy Metabolism Studies and Their Limitations. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 26, 86-96.
[25] National Research Council, NRC (2007) Nutrient Requirements of Small Ruminants: Sheep, Goats, Cervids, and New World Camelids. The National Academies Press, Washington DC.
[26] Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (2007) Nutrients Requirements of Domesticated Ruminants. CSIRO, Collingwood.
[27] Webster, A.J.F. (1983) Chapter 6: Energetic of Maintenance and Growth. In: Girardier, L. and Stock, M., Eds., Mammalian Thermogenesis, Chapman and Hall, London, 178-207.
[28] Fernández, C., López, M.C. and Lachica, M. (2012) Heat Production Determined by the RQ and CN Methods, Fasting Heat Production and Effect of the Energy Intake on Substrates Oxidation of Indigenous Manchega Sheep. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 178, 115-119.
[29] López, M.C. and Fernández, C. (2013) Changes in Heat Production by Sheep of Guirra Breed after Increase in Quantity of Barley Grain on the Diet. Small Ruminant Research, 109, 113-118.
[30] López, M.C. and Fernández, C. (2014) Energy Partitioning and Substrate Oxidation by Guirra Ewes Fed Soy Hulls and Corn Gluten Feed Blend as a Replacement for Barley Grain. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 189, 11-18.
[31] Aguilera, J.F., Molina, E., Prieto, C. and Boza, J. (1986) Determination of Energy Requirements for Maintenance in Sheep of Segureña Breed. Archivos de Zootécnia, 35, 89-96.
[32] Kearl, L.C. (1982) Nutrient Requirements of Ruminants in Developing Countries. International Feedstuffs Institute, Utah State University, Logan.
[33] Nsahlai, I.V., Osuji, P.O. and Umunna, N.N. (1997) Digestible Organic Matter Requirements of Ethiopian Menz Sheep: Model and Application. Journal of Applied Animal Research, 11, 83-100.
[34] Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, INRA (2007) Alimentation des bovins, ovinsetcaprins. Besoins des animaux. Valeurs des aliments. Tables Inra 2007. Editions Quae, Versailles.
[35] Agricultural and Food Research Council, AFRC (1998) Energy, in Nutrition of Sheep. CAB International, Wallingford, UK, 41-45.
[36] Blaxter, K.L. (1972) Fasting Metabolism and the Energy Required by Animals for Maintenance. In: Festsdrifttil Knut Breirem, Mariendals Boktryk-keri, Gjovik, 19.
[37] Labussière, E., Dubois, S., Van Milgen, J., Bertrand, G. and Noblet, J. (2008) Fasting Heat Production and Energy Cost of Standing Activity in Veal Calves. British Journal of Nutrition, 100, 1315-1324.
[38] Taylor, S.C.S. (1985) Use of Genetic Size-Scaling in Evaluation of Animal Growth. Journal of Animal Science, 61, 118-143.
[39] Olthoff, J.C., Dickerson, G.E. and Nienaber, J.A. (1989) Energy Utilization in Mature Ewes from Seven Breeds with Diverse Production Potential. Journal of Animal Science, 67, 2550-2564.
[40] Hoover, W.H. and Stokes, S.R. (1991) Balancing Carbohydrates and Proteins for Optimum Rumen Microbial Yield. Journal Dairy Science, 74, 3630-3644.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.