Selection preferences of Boer Goats in the Thornveld of the Southern Limpopo, South Africa

Author: J.J. Jordaan & A. Le Roux
Year: 2014
Issue: 1
Volume: 7
Page: 1 - 6

The selection behavior of Boer Goats was studied over a two year period in the Sourish Mixed Bushveld of the Limpopo Province, South Africa. Goats were followed and species browsed, selection frequency, plant parts selected and browsing height recorded. A selection index, based on species occurrence and frequency of selection was calculated for each species. Ehretia rigida and Ziziphus mucronata, Panicum maximum and Eragrostis barbinodis and Lippia javanica were the favoured tree, grass and forb species, respectively. Goats selected mainly browse leaf below 1.5 m during the growing season, while, in the dormant season, grass was increasingly selected due to the absence of browse. It was concluded that winter and early spring could pose a problem regarding grazing competition, should goats and cattle be kept in combination in a vegetation type of this nature. 

Keywords: plant species preferences
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