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Effect of stocking rate on grazing behaviour and diet selection of goats on cultivated pasture

  • L. Q. Wan (a1), K. S. Liu (a2), W. Wu (a1), J. S. Li (a2), T. C. Zhao (a2), X. Q. Shao (a2), F. He (a1), H. Lv (a1) and X. L. Li (a1)...

Abstract

Cultivated pastures in southern China are being used to improve forage productivity and animal performance, but studies on grazing behaviour of goats in these cultivated pastures are still rare. In the current study, the grazing behaviour of Yunling black goats under low (5 goats/ha) and high (15 goats/ha) stocking rates (SRs) was evaluated. Data showed that the proportion of time goats spent on activities was: eating (0.59–0.87), ruminating (0.05–0.35), walking (0.03–0.06) and resting (0.01–0.03). Compared with low SR, goats spent more time eating and walking, and less time ruminating and resting under high SR. Goats had similar diet preferences under both SR and preferred to eat grasses (ryegrass and cocksfoot) more than a legume (white clover). The distribution of eating time on each forage species was more uniform under high v. low SR. Bites/step, bite weight and daily intake were greater under low than high SR. Results suggest that the SR affects grazing behaviour of goats on cultivated pasture, and identifying an optimal SR is critical for increasing bite weight and intake.

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Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: K.S. Liu, E-mail: kliu@cau.edu.cn and X.L. Li, E-mail: lixl@iascaas.net.cn

References

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