Foraging behaviour of cattle and goats in ihe grazing - lands of forested zone of Indian Central Himalaya
Data on plant species foraged, foraging hours, bite rate, bite size and species drymatter (DM) removed per bite were collected in a grazingland of forested zone of Indian Central Himalaya to describe foraging behaviour of cattle and goats. Cattle and goats together foraged 31 plant species, of which 29 plant species (26 herbs and 3 woody) were foraged by cattle and 21 (16 herbs and 5 woody) by goats. The average foraging period was similar for cattle and goats (10 h for each), bite rate (19 - 46 bates min-1), and bite size (58 -199 rag bite-1) were significantly different for adult cattle, calves and goats in different months (P < 0.01). The average DM intake (kg dry matter) was 3.2 kg for adult cattle, 1.1 kg for calves and 1.0 kg for goats. The foraging search cost, reckoned as distance walked per unit DM intake (km kg-1), of calves (10) was far the greatest, followed by goats (8) and adult cattle (3). Response breadth (in terms of species foraged) of goat was significantly narrower in species-rich site (0.22) than in species-poor site (0.46} while cattle showed similar response breadths in the two sites (0.38 - 0.42).
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