The effect of sheering on sheep (Ovis aries) rectal temperature relative to ambient temperature

Hyperthermia from high environmental conditions or from illness, can result in animal death. Wool has insulatory properties that can interfere with heat loss. Sheep that have been shorn (with shorter wool coats) may have an easier time maintaining isothermic body temperature (within normal reference ranges; 101.5°F and 103.5°F). We tested the hypothesis that shorn sheep will have a cooler rectal temperature than unshorn sheep using 9-month-old ewes (n = 8) housed on the Cal Poly Pomona campus (4 shorn, 4 unshorn). Rectal temperature was obtained using an digital thermometer every 45 min from 9:00AM to 10:30AM over the course of 4 days. Rectal temperatures were compared with ambient temperature obtained using a weather meter (Kestrel 3500). The results of this study give insight on sheep thermal regulation and the importance of wool length in the management strategy of sheep in warm environments.