The feeding height preferences of two goat breeds fed Grewia occidentalis L. (Tiliaceae) in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Dziba, L.E., Scogings, P.F., Gordon, I.J., and Raats, J.G. (2003) The feeding height preferences of two goat breeds fed Grewia occidentalis L. (Tiliaceae) in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Small Ruminant Research, 47 (1). pp. 31-38.

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Nguni goats and Boer goats, which are farmed together in the savannas of the Eastern Cape Province, depend on the same feed resources. The feeding height intake rates and preferences of one of their most preferred browse species, Grewia occidentalis L. (Tiliaceae), were studied in order to indirectly determine resource partitioning between these goat breeds on the basis of feeding height. The two hypotheses tested were that taller Boer goats feed at higher levels than do Nguni goats and that both breeds have feeding height preferences that are related to differences in intake rates. Four individuals of each breed were fed branches attached to a height foraging board. The two breeds showed no particular height preference in either season. Bite rates varied with feeding height, while bite sizes and intake rates increased with feeding height. Boer goats had lower bite rates compared to Nguni goats, although both breeds achieved similar bite sizes and intake rates. Bites sizes and intake rates for both breeds were higher in summer than in winter, possibly because more browse biomass was available per branch in summer than in winter since G. occidentalis is deciduous. There was no evidence to support that feeding height preference was related to differences in intake rates. It is concluded that Boer goats may compete for forage resources during times of resource limitation. Thus, Nguni goats might be a more favourable breed in semi-arid savannas because of their smaller body-size and, therefore, absolute nutrient requirements as well as their better reproductive performance compared to Boer goats.

Item ID: 42573
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0921-4488
Keywords: Boer goats, Ngum goats, browse, feeding level, savanna
Funders: National Research Foundation, South Africa, Royal Society of London (RS), Agricultural Research Council
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2016 07:43
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0702 Animal Production > 070204 Animal Nutrition @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8303 Livestock Raising > 830304 Goats @ 100%
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