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Goats utilization ability of the understory vegetation in forestry areas

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Authors: L. Torrano, J. Valderrábano
Issue: 96A-2 (155-161)
Topic: Animal Production
Keywords: Goats, diet selection, grazing season, stocking density

Possible differences in goats utilization ability of the spontaneous vegetation growing on a European black pine (Pinus nigra Arn. subsp. nigra) revegetated slope of the Pyrenees due to stocking density and grazing season were studied from direct observation of goats grazing behaviour. While goats were browsing 50% of their total grazing time in spring, this activity decreased till a 32% a in autumn. Buxus sempervirens L. was never consumed by goats but Genista scorpius (L.) DC. was intensively browsed both in spring (36%) and autumn (20%). While stocking density showed an effect on the time that goats devoted to consume different groups of plants, it was much affected by grazing season. Browsing time declined significantly from spring to autumn in some species like Rosa sp., probably due to the reduction in its nutritive value. However, the higher time spend by goats browsing aromatic species in autumn than in spring appears to be associated with these plants content in secondary metabolism compounds. The different utilisation ability of the spontaneous vegetation with the time of the year showed by goats could provide foresters with a useful management tool.

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