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A modeling approach for estimating seasonal dietary preferences of goats in a Mediterranean Quercus frainetto-Juniperus oxycedrus woodland

By T. Manousidis, C. Malesios, A. P. Kyriazopoulos, Z. M. Parissi, E. M. Abraham, Z. Abas

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Goats are characterized as selective feeders due to their specific feeding behavior, thus the study of their seasonal preferences in a Mediterranean oak-juniper ecosystem is of great interest. The current research was conducted in an open oak forest in Megalo Dereio region, northeastern Greece which was grazed mainly by a flock of 650 local breed goats. Grazing behavior data as the number of bites per plant species were recorded using a direct observation method in late spring (May), middle of summer (July) and late autumn (November) of 2010 and 2011. Additionally, a modeling approach was followed in order to study the factors influencing the dietary preferences of goats. Inference - by adopting the Bayesian paradigm - was based on the best multinomial response logistic regression model, selected by the suitable model assessment criteria. According to the results, seasonal and yearly effects were both important in explaining the grazing behavior of goats, with season being the dominant factor. The model's estimation accuracy was additionally assessed by the comparison of the calculated model-based dietary preferences with the corresponding observed values. The model could be a useful tool to estimate the seasonal changes of dietary preferences of grazing goats.

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 177
Pages 25-33
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2016.01.021
Language English
Author Address Laboratory of Animal Science, Department of Agricultural Development, Democritus University of Thrace, 193 Pantazidou Str., 68200 Orestiada,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Angiosperms
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal nutrition
  4. Animals
  5. Balkans
  6. Bites and stings
  7. Bovidae
  8. Breeds
  9. Capra
  10. Developed countries
  11. Diets
  12. Ecosystems
  13. Effect
  14. Estimation
  15. Europe
  16. Feeders
  17. Feeding
  18. Feeding behavior
  19. Flowers
  20. Goats
  21. Grazing
  22. Greece
  23. Livestock
  24. Mammals
  25. Mediterranean region
  26. models
  27. OECD countries
  28. peer-reviewed
  29. Plants
  30. regions
  31. Ruminants
  32. Seasonal variations
  33. seasons
  34. summer
  35. trees
  36. ungulates
  37. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed