A comparison of plant form and browsing height selection of four small stock breeds - Preliminary results

I. Plessis, C. van der Waal, E.C. Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A direct observation technique was used to establish the foraging behaviour of Boer goats, Nguni goats, Pedi sheep and Dorper sheep. According to the Chi-square dissimilarity measure, plant-form (grass, forb, woody) differences between the diets of goats and sheep were greater than differences between the goat breeds and sheep breeds. The results from this study confirm that goats and sheep exhibit different foraging strategies. Sheep tend to forage more frequently from the herbaceous layer compared to goats, which also browse substantially from woody plants. Both goats and sheep increase their relative intake of woody plant products in winter. Goats tend to increase their woody browsing height in winter, probably adapting their foraging behaviour to fit differences in the canopy structures of prominent summer and winter forage species. Further research should be conducted to determine whether subtle differences in the foraging habits of different goat and sheep breeds exist.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-34
JournalSouth African Journal of Animal Science = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif Vir Veekun
Volume34
Issue numberSuppl. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Keywords

  • goat

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