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Sleep and activity, age and fatness, and the energy expenditure of confined sheep

  • P-L. Toutain (a1), Claire Toutain (a1), A. J. F. Webster and J. D. McDonald (a1)

Abstract

1. Changes in energy expenditure associated with sleep and activity, age and fatness were measured in sheep. States of vigilance were defined according to electrophysiological records as awake, drowsy, slow-wave sleep (SWS) and paradoxical sleep (PS; Ruckebusch, 1972). Energy expenditure was determined from respiratory exchange. Three groups, each of four sheep were used; yearlings, old (4-6 years of age) fat and old thin sheep. Body fat content was estimated from deuterium oxide space.

2. The amount of time spent by sheep from each group at each state of vigilance was similar, total ‘sleep’ time being 200-250 min/night.

3. The absolute decrease in energy expenditure during drowsiness and sleep was similar for all groups of sheep. The difference between SWS and lying awake was 20-27 J/kg body-weight (W)0.75 per min. Heat production was about the same for SWS and PS.

4. The energy cost of rumination was about 0.34 kJ/kg W per h.

5. The increase in heat production during standing consisted of the energy cost of standing, approximately 0.7 kJ/kg W per h, and the energy cost of changing position, approximately 47 J/kg W.

6. The old thin sheep had a slightly higher heat production on a per kg total W0.75 basis than the old fat sheep, but this difference largely disappeared when heat production was related to ‘lean’ W. On average energy expenditure was approximately 25% lower in the old sheep than in the yearling animals. This difference could not be related to difference in activity or in the energy costs of activity per unit of time.

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References

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British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
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