Original Research

Modulatory effect of ascorbic acid on physiological responses of transported ostrich chicks

Minka N. Salka, Ayo J. Olusegun
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 79, No 1 | a388 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v79i1.388 | © 2012 Minka N. Salka, Ayo J. Olusegun | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 December 2011 | Published: 24 May 2012

About the author(s)

Minka N. Salka, College of Agriculture and Animal Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
Ayo J. Olusegun, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria

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The aims of this study were to determine the modulating role of ascorbic acid (AA) on rectal temperature (RT), heterophil to lymphocyte (H to L) ratio and aberrant behaviours of ostrich chicks transported by road for 4 h during hot-dry conditions. Twenty ostrich chicks aged 2.5 months, of both sexes and belonging to the Red Neck breed, served as subjects of the study. The chicks were assigned randomly to AA-treated and control groups, consisting of 10 chicks each. The AA-treated group was administered orally with 100 mg/kg body weight of AA dissolved in 5 mL of sterile water 30 min before transportation, whilst the control group was given the equivalent of sterile water only. The thermal load (TL) experienced in the vehicle during transportation fluctuated between 31 °C and 89 °C, as calculated from the ambient temperature and relative humidity. Transportation induced hyperthermia, lymphopenia, heterophilia and aberrant behaviours of pecking, wing fluffing and panting, which were ameliorated by AA administration. The relationships between the TL, journey duration and physiological variables of RT, H to L ratio and aberrant behaviours recorded during transportation were significantly and positively correlated in the control group. In AA-treated group the relationships were not significantly correlated. In conclusion, the results showed for the first time that AA ameliorated the adverse effects of stress caused by road transportation on the aberrant behaviours, RT and H to L ratio of ostrich chicks during the hot-dry season.


ascorbic acid; behaviour; heterophil to lymphocyte ratio; rectal temperature; ostrich chick; transportation


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