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Foraging Behavior Patterns of Sheep and Horses Under a Mixed Species Grazing System

By Krzysztof Patkowski, Michał Pluta, Antoni Lipiec, Monika Greguła-Kania, Tomasz M. Gruszecki

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

The research objective was to assess the behavior patterns of the Polish Konik horse breed and the Uhruska variety of the Polish Lowland Sheep breed under a mixed-grazing system, and their relationship with climatic factors. The observation included 4 adult horses, 27 ewes with lambs and 10 primiparous ewes. The behavior of the animals and the weather conditions were recorded at 60-min intervals. Horses and sheep displayed similarities in both species-specific behavioral patterns and timing of grazing activity, and the duration of foraging sessions was mostly influenced by time of day, lower temperature and relative humidity. In addition, the two species showed more interest in the watering place in the afternoon, and drinking frequency was mainly dependent on air temperature. The animals that pastured together gradually began to mix, but at first, they remained within their species group. Both animal species can be used for environmental protection and landscape conservation making rational use of pastures within protected areas.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 22
Issue 4
Pages 357-363
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2018.1522505
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Tags
  1. Extension
  2. Grazing
  3. Horses
  4. Sheep