Foraging strategies of goats in a pasture of wheat and shrubland

TÖLÜ C. , YURTMAN İ. Y. , BAYTEKİN H. , Atasoglu C. , SAVAŞ T.

ANIMAL PRODUCTION SCIENCE, vol.52, no.12, pp.1069-1076, 2012 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 52 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1071/an11251
  • Page Numbers: pp.1069-1076


Cereal pastures are a crucial source of forage to reduce grazing pressure on shrublands in the Mediterranean basin. This study aimed at investigating the grazing preferences and behaviours of goats with different genotypes, when a grazing area of shrubland (0.18 ha), which was composed of 88% shrubs, 10% herbaceous species and 2% footpath and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) pasture (0.20 ha) were offered together. Twelve lactating mature (in 2007) and 15 nonlactating yearling goats (in 2008) of three genotypes (Gokceada, Maltese and Turkish Saanen) were used. The study was carried out for 45 days during the months of April and May. Animals stayed in the pasture for 8 h daily. No roughage or concentrate was offered. Grazing, lying, standing and ruminating behaviours were recorded at 10-min intervals, whereas bipedal stance and walking behaviours were continuously monitored by observers. Mature goats spent one-third and yearling goats spent half of their time in the shrubs. The frequency of preferences to pasture types differed among mature goat genotypes (P > 0.05), but not among the yearling goats (P > 0.05). Grazing of wheat pasture by Gokceada, of herbaceous plants in the shrubland by Maltese and of shrubs by Turkish Saanen goats were more prominent (P <= 0.05). In conclusion, goats gave priority to wheat pasture and grazing preferences and behaviours differed by genotypes. Turkish Saanen goats tended to show more bipedal stance behaviour than the other genotypes. However, there were high individual variations within genotype and age groups.