869 The Potential Adverse Effects of the Cold-dry (Harmattan) season on Respiration, Behaviour and Work output of Pack Donkeys in Northern Nigeria mitigated by Ascorbic acid

Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Olaifa Helen Folashade Sr., Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna, Nigeria; and A. J. Olusegun Sr.

Experiments were performed with the aim of investigating the effect of ascorbic acid on respiratory rate, behavioral responses and work output of donkeys, subjected to load carrying (packing) during the cold-dry (harmattan) season. Twelve, apparently, healthy donkeys served as subjects. Six donkeys administered orally with ascorbic acid and subjected to packing were used as test animals, while another six donkeys, not administered with ascorbic acid, served as controls. The respiratory rate of each donkey and thermal environment parameters were recorded before packing, during packing and after packing. Behavioural events of the donkeys were measured during the first 3 h post-packing by determining the frequencies of each event, carried out by the donkeys. Work output was evaluated using standard methods. The peak value (83.40 ± 6.9) of THI was recorded at 30 min after-packing. The RR value recorded at 30 min post-packing in the control donkeys was higher (P < .05) than in test donkeys. The maximum value of RR recorded at 14:30 h in both control and test donkeys coincided with when THI was at its peak value of 83.4 ± 6.9 observed to be stressful for donkeys. AA was in association (P < .01) with lying down, drinking, sighing and eliminations. Test donkeys that drank less frequently than (P < .05) the controls. The overall work output obtained in the test and control donkeys did not differ. In conclusion, AA reduced post-packing RR values and modified some behavioural traits, ameliorating adverse effect of work stress during the harmattan season. Keyword: Donkey, Behaviour, Packing, Stress, Harmattan

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