Pilot study for feeding preferences and grazing behavior in two breeds of sheep on a secondary succession of the Chiloé Archipelago
de la Barra,Rodrigo
M.A. Gallardo, R. de la Barra, and M.E. Martínez. 2014. Pilot study for feeding preferences and grazing behavior in two breeds of sheep on a secondary succession of the Chiloé Archipelago. Cien. Inv. Agr. 41(2):249-254. A pilot study was undertaken to determine the pattern of feeding preferences and grazing behavior of the Chilota breed of sheep in the Chiloé Archipelago. First, eight Chilota and eight Suffolk Down ewes were faced with different numbers of plant species (offered only for 10 min), after fasting and after grazing a calafatal, a secondary succession dominated by shrubs. The experiment was repeated four times within a period of 22 d and included a 1-month pre-experimental period. Second, six Chilota and six Suffolk Down ewes, randomly selected from the same groups, were placed to graze on a calafatal divided into three 10-by-10 m paddocks to facilitate rotation of the animals. Observations were performed for 1 minute at 1-hour intervals for 11 hours a day, over 10 consecutive days, recording the following behaviors: grazing, browsing, resting, ruminating, and grooming. Regarding the dry matter intake of each of the three plant species present in all trials (B. chilensis, G. mucronata and D. winteri), results showed D. winteri was the most consumed and B. chilensis the least. The grazing behavior showed grazing was the main activity recorded for both breeds (especially for Suffolk Down) during the morning and evening, while resting and ruminating were the main activities recorded during the warmest hours. In summary, the breeds showed similar preferences but different grazing behavior pattern on a secondary succession of the Chiloé Archipelago.