Diet selection by conditioned and unconditioned goats in the sagebrush steppe of Eastern Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/6d5702148

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  • This research examined the diets of angora goats on a sagebrush bunchgrass rangeland. Research objectives were to 1) determine the effects of a positive conditioning method on both mature and immature angora goats; and 2) to quantify plant selection and provide preliminary information as to the potential for using goats to rehabilitate degraded sagebrush rangelands. Goat diets were ascertained using focal - animal bite-count observations during five consecutive seasons, summer 1990 through summer 1991. Treatment group goats were conditioned for 8 months by including ever- increasing amounts of sagebrush (Artemisia tridentate subspp. wyomingensi) in their daily ration, up to 25% of their total intake. Conditioning effects were evaluated in a rangeland setting by comparing relative amounts of sagebrush consumption between groups. Our results indicate that while conditioning did not significantly impact sagebrush consumption, young animals consumed significantly more sagebrush than adults. Additionally, learning throughout the first year altered dietary selection by the second summer. Both does and kids were primarily gramnivorous, however there was strong seasonality in species preference and a significant age difference in diets selected. Age differences in the plant species selected persisted throughout the study until the summer of 1991 when kids were eighteen months old.
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