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University of KwaZulu-Natal (2013)

Diet selection and foraging efficiency of Nguni goats in the bushveld of Gauteng, South Africa

Werekeh, Fomum Sylvester

Titre : Diet selection and foraging efficiency of Nguni goats in the bushveld of Gauteng, South Africa.

Auteur : Werekeh, Fomum Sylvester

Université de soutenance : University of KwaZulu-Natal

Grade : Master of Science MS, 2013

Résumé partiel
Diet selection and foraging efficiency are primary driving behavioural processes in mammalian herbivore plant interaction. They determine the quality of production and also impact on vegetation, necessitating managerial inputs that will sustain productivity and conserve or improve on its plant species composition. In view of a better understanding of browse/browser interaction in subtropical arid savannah, Nguni goats were adopted as our model browser considering their socioeconomic importance to local, regional and global economy. The primary objective of this research was to determine the seasonal and plant species trend of diet selection indexed by intake and foraging efficiency indexed by intake rate. The secondary objective was to investigate how plant morphological variables such as spinescence, shoot morphology such as long shoots as opposed to short shoots, and broad as against fine leaves, phenological variables such as evergreen versus deciduous species, and plant chemical components including : crude protein, neutral detergent fibre (NDF), acid detergent fibre (ADF), hemicellulose, cellulose, acid detergent lignin and condensed tannins relate and possibly explain the observed patterns. Six browse plants, Acacia nilotica, Acacia robusta, Ehretia rigida, Euclea crispa, Rhus lancea and Ziziphus mucronata were used in the first experiment to determine short term intake during the dry and rainy seasons. In the second experiment, 10 browse plants : Acacia nilotica, Acacia robusta, Combretum epiculatum, Dicrostachys cinerea, Ehretia rigida, Euclea crispa, Gymnosporia buxifolia, Rhus lancea and Ziziphus mucronata were used to determine short term intake rate in the dry, early rainy and late rainy seasons. Diet selection was significantly affected by species (F5,60= 31.87 ; p< 0.05) and the interaction between seasons and species (F,60= 2.52 ; p= 0.039). Intake was not significantly higher in the rainy relative to the dry season, 3.94 ± 0.42a gDM compared to 3.57 ± 0.42a gDM. Rhus lancea and A. robusta were the most preferred species in both seasons, while Z. mucronata was more preferred in the dry season than E. crispa but in the rainy season it was the opposite. Dichrostachys cinerea and A. nilotica were the least preferred in both seasons, but with improved intake of D. cinerea in the rainy season, whereas that of A. nilotica declined significantly.

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Page publiée le 1er novembre 2014, mise à jour le 1er avril 2020