Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Wildland Resources

Committee Chair(s)

L. A. Stoddart


L. A. Stoddart


C. Wayne Cook


Although there is an abundance of material available concerning forage consumption by livestock on pasture land and in the feed lot, there is relatively little known about the grazing habits and forage preferences of livestock under range conditions. There has been still less scientific effort expended toward solving the riddle of the grazing animal's diet under winter range conditions. Investigators have suggested means to determine the quantity of forage available on range areas, the carrying capacities of range lands, and methods of determining the degree to which forage has been utilized. The diet of the foraging animal is affected by the quantity of forage available, and the capacity of range lands to support grazing and the degree to which various species are utilized are directly dependent upon the diet, yet virtually nothing is known about the actual compositions of this diet as selected by the animal on the range. There is need for additional scientific information concerning choice of species by the foraging animal and the factors which affect this selection. Basic information of this nature must be known before scientific range management can be applied. Sheep are known to prefer certain plants, and likewise certain portions of these plants. In addition weather, stage of maturity, intensity of use, and plant associations all affect the sheep's diet, and make interpretations and calculations still more complex. This study was designed to determine on the winter range the quantity of forage available to grazing animals, these species composition of the animal's diet, and to evaluate, where possible, factors affecting the diet.