Sources of variation in the foraging efficiency of grazing ruminants

Gordon, I.J., Illius, A.W., and Milne, J.D. (1996) Sources of variation in the foraging efficiency of grazing ruminants. Functional Ecology, 10 (2). pp. 219-226.

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1. The relationships between foraging behaviour, incisor arcade breadth and body mass were described for sheep and goats grazing from swards of sown grass at two sward surface heights.

2. variation in bite mass was related to incisor arcade breadth more closely than to body mass.

3. Bite area scaled as the square of the incisor arcade breadth and was smaller on the Tall sward height treatment.

4. Sheep had greater bite masses than did goats but goats had a higher bite rate than sheep and as a consequence there was little difference in short-term intake rate between the species.

5. Young animals of both species had smaller bite masses and intake rates than did mature animals. However, when expressed relative to body mass there were no significant differences in bite mass between maturity classes.

6. The results of the current study confirm that the size of the incisor arcade is a direct determinant of bite dimensions and a driving variable for intake rate in grazing ruminants.

Item ID: 42625
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2435
Keywords: allometry, body size, foraging behaviour, grazing, herbivory, incisors, intake, morphology, ruminant
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Scottish Office of the Agriculture and Fisheries Department (SOAFD)
Projects and Grants: NERC GR3/7318
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2016 07:43
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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