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Managing Livestock Using Animal Behavior: Mixed Species Stocking and Flerds

By Ed L. Frederickson

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Mixed-species stocking can foster sound landscape management while offering economic and ecological advantages compared with mono-species stocking. Producers contemplating a mixed-species enterprise should reflect on several considerations before implementing this animal management strategy. Factors applicable to a particular producer's landscape must be considered together with goals and economic constraints before implementing mixed-species stocking. A major consideration when using mixed-species stocking is how to deal with predation losses, especially among small ruminants. An approach being adopted in some commercial operations capitalizes on using innate animal behaviors to form cohesive groups of two or more livestock species that consistently remain together under free-ranging conditions. These groups are referred to as flerds. The mixing of a flock of sheep and/or goats with a herd of cattle into a flerd has been shown to protect sheep and goats from coyote predation, as well as offering other husbandry advantages. Some of the added advantages include more efficient conversion of forage into animal protein. Creation of flerds, their maintenance and advantages are discussed.



Katie Carroll

Date 2012
Publication Title Animal
Pages 1-11
Publisher SelectedWorks
DOI 10.1017/S175173111200016X
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal roles
  3. Cattle
  4. Farm animals
  5. Farms
  6. Feeding
  7. Food animals
  8. Free range husbandry
  9. Goats
  10. Husbandry
  11. Livestock
  12. Mammals
  13. mixed species
  14. Sheep