Effect of photoperiod and heat stress in the third trimester of gestation on milk production and circulating hormones in dairy goats

S. J. Mabjeesh*, C. Sabastian, O. Gal-Garber, A. Shamay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The influence of photoperiod manipulation in the dry period was examined in dairy goats experiencing environmental heat stress. Multiparous Israeli Saanen goats were blocked at dry off (∼60. d prepartum) into 2 groups of 4 goats each based on body weight, previous milk production, and detected embryo number. Treatments consisted of long-day (16. h light:8. h dark) and short-day (8. h light:16. h dark) photoperiods (LDPP and SDPP, respectively). Heat-stress conditions were applied by manipulating the environment of metabolic rooms to reach a maximum temperature of 37°C between 1000 and 2200. h, and a minimum of 23°C and 70.3% relative humidity. All goats were returned to ambient photoperiod after kidding, milked twice daily, and milk yield was automatically recorded. Dry matter intake during the dry period was similar between treatments, averaging 1,114. g/d. Milk production was significantly higher in the SDPP than the LDPP group (2,172 vs. 1,550. g/d) during the 12-wk experimental period. Milk protein and fat contents were similar in both groups and averaged 3.63 and 4.34%, respectively, whereas milk lactose was higher in the LDPP group (4.77 vs. 4.67%). Heart rates were similar between treatments and averaged 112.6 beats per minute (BPM). Respiration rates were lower in the morning (58.4. BPM) compared with the afternoon (91.2. BPM) and were not influenced by photoperiod. Rectal temperature was higher for the LDPP than the SDPP group (40.4 vs. 39.6°C). The thyroid hormone level (mean ± SE) was similar in both groups during the dry period, but higher during lactation in the LDPP goats up to 40. d postpartum (110±6.59 vs. 156±8.76. ng/mL). Plasma IGF-1 (mean ± SE) was higher in the LDPP group (279±62 vs. 162±27. ng/mL in SDPP) during the dry period but was similar postkidding, averaging 132±24. ng/mL. Plasma prolactin level (mean ± SE) was higher in the LDPP than the SDPP group during the dry period (17.2±1.6 vs. 10.6±0.99. ng/mL), whereas it was similar throughout lactation (0.61±0.28. ng/mL). These data support the idea that SDPP manipulation during heat load in dry goats can be used as an abatement strategy to reduce the carryover effect of heat stress observed during the subsequent lactation. The higher milk production in SDPP goats is explained by changes in circulating prolactin profile rather than differences in feed intake or secretion of insulin-like growth factor 1.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)189-197
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the US-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (Bet Dagan, Israel; award no. US-3201-01).


  • Dairy goat
  • Heat stress
  • Photoperiod
  • Prolactin


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