Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
John C. Malecheck
A quantitative description of the foraging process is necessary for effective planning and execution of intensive grazing schemes. Foraging behavior is defined as having two components: feeding and moving. At intervals the foraging animal walks a number of steps searching for food and then pauses to feed at a new position here termed a feeding station. Five behavioral variables were analyzed under this framework: 1) time spent at a feed ing station; 2) number of bites at a feeding station; 3) steps taken between stations; 4) rate of steps; and 5) foraging time. The experimental design consisted of grazing small adjacent, approximately 7-ha paddocks for periods lasting 8 days. Animals significantly (P<0.01) increased the probability of taking 1 to 2 bites at a station as the season progressed. Regression analysis relating foraging time (in days) on a paddock revealed that the regression coefficients were statistically significant (P<0.05) suggesting that heifers were appreciably increasing foraging time as the grazing periods progressed. Analysis of moving behavior indicated that animals most often took 1 step between feeding stations and moved at approximately the same rate regardless of sward conditions. The significance of the behavioral measurements is discussed.
Flores, Enrique R., "Applying the Concept of Feeding Stations to the Behavior of Cattle Grazing Variable Amounts of Available Forage" (1983). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 3516.
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