Skip to main content Accessibility help

Effect of timing and duration of grazing of growing cattle in the West African Sahel on diet selection, faecal output, eating time, forage intake and live-weight changes

  • A.A. Ayantunde (a1) (a2), S. Fernández-Rivera (a1), P.H.Y. Hiernaux (a1), H. van Keulen (a3), H.M.J. Udo (a4) and M. Chanono (a5)...


Sixty-four Azawak male weaned calves were allotted to eight treatments (T) in two trials to study the effect of timing (day or day-and-night) and duration of grazing on diet selection, faecal output, eating time, forage intake and weight changes. Grazing time during the day was 6 h for T 1, 2 and 3; 9 h for T 4, 5 and 6; and 12 h for T 7 and 8. Night grazing time was 0 h for T 1, 4 and 7; 3 h for T 2, 5 and 8; and 6 h for T 3 and 6. The trials were conducted from July 1995 to May 1996 covering the wet (WS), early dry (EDS) and late dry (LDS) seasons. Eight oesophageally fistulated steers were used in a cross-over design to sample the diet selected by day-grazers (D1) and by day-and-night-grazers during the day (D2) and at night (N2). Forage intake was determined from individual data on faecal output from all the calves and means of in vitro organic matter digestibility of extrusa of the fistulated steers. Water intake and eating time were measured in LDS. In WS there were no differences (P > 0·05) in the quality of the diet (extrusa) selected for D1, D2 and N2. In LDS, crude protein content for D1 was lower than for D2 (73 v . 79 (s.e. 2) g/kg dry matter, P < 0·05). In all seasons, faecal output and forage intake increased with total duration of grazing. Total time spent eating increased linearly with increasing total time allowed for grazing. These results suggest that allowing additional grazing time during the night leads to increased forage intake and consequently provides an opportunity for better animal production, especially in the dry season.


Corresponding author

To whom correspondence should be addressed.


Hide All
Achard, F. and Chanono, M. 1995. [Animal performance of a livestock production system in Toukounous in the Sahelian Niger.] Sécheresse 6: 215222.
Arnold, G.W. 1966. The special senses in grazing animal Sights. I. and dietary habits in sheep. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 17: 521529.
Arnold, G.W. and Dudzinski, M.L. 1978. Ethology of free-ranging domestic animals. Development in Animal and Veterinary Sciences 2, Elsevier, Amsterdam.
Association of Official Analytical Chemists. 1990. Official methods of analysis of the AOAC, volume 1, 15th edition (ed. Helrich, K.C.). Association of Official Analytical Chemists Inc., Arlington, Texas.
Ayantunde, A.A. 1998. Influence of grazing regimes on cattle nutrition and performance and vegetation dynamics in Sahelian rangelands. Ph.D. thesis, Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen.
Bayer, W. 1986. Agropastoral herding practices and grazing behaviour of cattle in the subhumid zone of Nigeria. ILCA Bulletin 24: 813.
Breman, H. and De Wit, C.T. 1983. Rangeland productivity and exploitation in the Sahel. Science 221: 13411347.
Breman, H. and Ridder, N. de. 1991. [Manual on Sahelian rangelands.] Karthala/ACCT/CTA, Paris/Wageningen.
Coppock, D.L., Ellis, J.E. and Swift, D.M. 1987. Seasonal food habits of livestock in south Turkana, Kenya. East African Agriculture and Forestry Journal 52: 196207.
Coppock, D.L., Ellis, J.E. and Swift, D.M. 1988. Seasonal patterns of activity, travel and water intake for livestock in south Turkana, Kenya. Journal of Arid Environments 14: 319331.
Cordova, F.J., Wallace, J.D. and Pieper, R.D. 1978. Forage intake by grazing livestock: a review. Journal of Range Management 31: 430438.
Dicko, M.S. and Sangaré, M. 1986. Feeding behaviour of domestic ruminants in Sahelian zone. In Rangelands: a resource under siege (ed. P. J. Joss, , Lynch, P.W. and Williams, O.B.), pp. 389390. Australian Academy of Science, Canberra.
Fernández-Rivera, S., Ayantunde, A., Hiernaux, P.H. Y. and Turner, M. 1996. Nocturnal grazing effects on the nutrition of cattle. Journal of Animal Science 74: (supplement 1) 200 (abstr.).
Fernández-Rivera, S., Williams, T.O., Hiernaux, P. and Powell, J.M. 1995. Faecal excretion by ruminants and manure availability for crop production in semi-arid West Africa. In Livestock and sustainable nutrient cycling in mixed farming systems of sub-Saharan Africa (ed. Powell, J. M., Fernández-Rivera, S., Williams, T.O. and Renard, C.), volume II: technical papers, pp. 149169. International Livestock Centre for Africa, Addis Ababa.
Forbes, J.M. 1995. Voluntary food intake and diet selection in farm animals. CAB International, Wallingford.
Ickowicz, A. 1995. [Assessing the vegetation dynamics in pastoral production systems in the Sahelian Chad.] Thése d’Université, Paris XII-Créteil.
Kahn, H.E. and Spedding, C.R.W. 1984. A dynamic model for the simulation of cattle herd production systems. II. An investigation of various factors influencing the voluntary intake of dry matter and the use of the models in their validation. Agricultural Systems 13: 6382.
King, J.M. 1983. Livestock water needs in pastoral Africa in relation to climate and forage. ILCA report no. 7. International Livestock Centre for Africa, Addis Ababa.
Menke, K.H., Raab, L., Salewski, A., Steingass, H., Fritz, D. and Schneider, W. 1979. The estimation of the digestibility and metabolizable energy content of ruminant feeding stuffs from gas production when they are incubated with rumen liquor in vitro . Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 93: 217222.
Milne, J.A. 1991. Diet selection by grazing animals. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 30: 7785.
Nicholson, M.J. 1987. Effects of night enclosure and extensive walking on the productivity of zebu cattle. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 109: 445452.
Powell, J.M., Fernández-Rivera, S., Hiernaux, P. and Turner, M.D. 1996. Nutrient cycling in integrated rangeland/cropland systems of the Sahel. Agricultural Systems 52: 143170.
Romney, D.L., Sendalo, D.S.C., Owen, E., Mtenga, L.A., Penning, P.D., Mayes, R.W. and Hendy, C.R.C. 1996. Effects of tethering management on feed intake and behaviour of Tanzanian goats. Small Ruminants Research 19: 113120.
Schlecht, E. 1995. The influence of different levels of supplementation on feed intake and nutrient retention of zebu cattle in Sahelian agro-pastoral systems. Ph.D. thesis, University of Hohenheim.
Statistical Analysis Systems Institute. 1987. SAS/STAT for personal computers. SAS Institute, Cary, NC.
Vallentine, J.F. 1990. Grazing management. Academic Press Inc., San Diego, California.
Van Soest, P.J., Robertsons, J.B. and Lewis, A.B. 1991. Methods for dietary fibre, and nonstarch polysaccharides in relation to animal nutrition. Journal of Dairy Science 74: 35833597
Wallace, J.D., Hyder, D.N. and Dyne, G.M.van. 1972. Salivary contamination of forage selected by oesophageally fistulated steers grazing sandhill grassland. Journal of Range Management 25: 182187.
Wigg, P.M. and Owen, A.M. 1973. Studies on water consumption, night-grazing and growth of Boran and crossbreed steers at Kongwa, Tanzania. East African Agriculture and Forestry Journal 38: 361366.


Effect of timing and duration of grazing of growing cattle in the West African Sahel on diet selection, faecal output, eating time, forage intake and live-weight changes

  • A.A. Ayantunde (a1) (a2), S. Fernández-Rivera (a1), P.H.Y. Hiernaux (a1), H. van Keulen (a3), H.M.J. Udo (a4) and M. Chanono (a5)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed