This chapter aims to review present knowledge about the effects of heat stress on goats, summarising what is known about its measurement, its impact on the performances of the animals, mainly milk traits, the physiological and genetic bases of the animals’ response and the improvement of resilience through selection. A short historic review of the climatic indexes used to measure heat stress, with special emphasis on the temperature humidity indexes, and the main consequences on milk yield and composition are followed by a description of the results of experiments carried out to study the physiological and metabolic consequences of heat stress. The results of the quantitative analyses of the genetic bases of heat stress using norm of reaction models and of the application of omic techniques, particularly transcriptomic and genomic, to understand the complexity of the genetic background of animal’s reaction to thermal stress, constitute the next points. The chapter ends treating the possible ways and difficulties of applying selection to increase resilience to heat stress.
Part of the book: Goat Science