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Intake rate, intake per bite and time per bite of lactating ewes on vegetative and reproductive swards

By S. Prache

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Rotational grazing by 8 Ile de France ewes, was examined in a cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata cv. Lucifer) sward at a vegetative or reproductive (appearance of first flowerheads in the canopy) stage. Measurements were made during progressive grazing down of 1030-msuperscript 2 paddocks. Regression of DM intake/bite, IB, on sward surface height or herbage mass/ha differed between swards. In contrast, IB increased linearly with green leaf DM mass/ha by 53 mg, regardless of the phenological stage of the sward. On the vegetative structure, time per bite, TB, was linearly related to IB, ranging from 0.92 to 1.80 s; on the reproductive structure, TB ranged from 1.15 to 1.95 s. Below 150 mg DM of IB, TB was higher on the reproductive than on the vegetative structure. On the vegetative structure, intake rate, RI, ranged from 1100 to 9900 mg DM/min, and increased curvilinearly with green leaf mass (t DM/ha) or sward surface height (mm). On the reproductive sward, RI ranged from 1700 to 8700 mg DM/min, increasing linearly with green leaf mass or sward surface height, with no differences between sheep. It is suggested that green leaf mass can be used as a predictor of DM intake/bite through different stages of maturity of temperate swards.

Date 1997
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 52
Issue 1/2
Pages 53-64
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/S0168-1591(96)01139-2
Language English
Author Address Laboratoire Adaptation des Herbivores aux Milieux, Centre de Clermont-Ferrand/Theix, 63122, St Genes Champanelle, France.
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  4. Bites and stings
  5. Developed countries
  6. Europe
  7. Feed intake
  8. France
  9. Grasses
  10. Grazing
  11. Mammals
  12. Maturity
  13. Mediterranean region
  14. models
  15. OECD countries
  16. pastures
  17. peer-reviewed
  18. Plants
  19. predictions
  20. Ruminants
  21. Sheep
  22. structure
  23. Techniques
  1. peer-reviewed