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Effect of Restricted Grazing Time on the Foraging Behavior and Movement of Tan Sheep Grazed on Desert Steppe

  • Chen, Yong ;
  • Luo, Hailing ;
  • Liu, Xueliang ;
  • Wang, Zhenzhen ;
  • Zhang, Yuwei ;
  • Liu, Kun ;
  • Jiao, Lijuan ;
  • Chang, Yanfei ;
  • Zuo, Zhaoyun
  • Received : 2012.10.09
  • Accepted : 2012.12.20
  • Published : 2013.05.01

Abstract

To investigate the effect of restricted grazing time on behavior of Tan sheep on desert steppe, forty 4-months old male Tan sheep with an original body weight (BW) of $15.62{\pm}0.33$ kg were randomly allocated to 4 grazing groups which corresponded to 4 different restricted grazing time treatments of 2 h/d (G2), 4 h/d (G4), 8 h/d (G8) and 12 h/d (G12) access to pasture. The restricted grazing times had a significant impact on intake time, resting time, ruminating time, bite rate and movement. As the grazing time decreased, the proportion of time spent on intake, bite rate and grazing velocity significantly (p<0.05) increased, but resting and ruminating time clearly (p<0.05) decreased. The grazing months mainly depicted effect on intake time and grazing velocity. In conclusion, by varying their foraging behavior, Tan sheep could improve grazing efficiency to adapt well to the time-limited grazing circumstance.

Keywords

Restricted Grazing Time;Foraging Behavior;Tan Sheep;Movement;Desert Steppe

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