• Short-Term Mesquite Pod Consumption by Goats Does Not Induce Toxicity

      Cook, Robert W.; Scott, Cody B.; Hartmann, F. Steve (Society for Range Management, 2008-09-01)
      Goats, unlike cattle, disperse few viable mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa Torr.) seeds in feces. However, there is some evidence that goats may suffer from toxicosis from overingestion of mesquite pods. We assessed the likelihood that short-term ingestion of mesquite pods would induce toxicosis in goats. Twenty-four goats were randomly allocated to one of four treatments with treatments fed different concentrations (0%, 30%, 60%, or 90% of the diet) of whole mesquite pods fed with alfalfa pellets. The mixture of mesquite pods and alfalfa pellets was fed for 12 d to 14 d. Because there were only 12 pens available for the study, two trials were used so that all 24 goats could be housed in individual pens. Intake, serum metabolite levels, and fecal output were measured to assess physiological status. In Trial 1, intake and fecal output decreased on days 12 through 14 for goats consuming a diet of 90% mesquite pods. In the second trial, intake and fecal output were similar across days of feeding within each treatment, but the trial only lasted 12 d. Serum metabolite levels remained within normal levels irrespective of the amount of mesquite pods in the diet in both trials. Goats appear to be able to consume mesquite pods on a short-term basis without experiencing toxicosis. 
    • Temporal Variation in Diet and Nutrition of Preincubating Greater Sage-Grouse

      Gregg, Michael A.; Barnett, Jenny K.; Crawford, John A. (Society for Range Management, 2008-09-01)
      Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) habitat management involves vegetation manipulations to increase or decrease specific habitat components. For sage-grouse habitat management to be most effective, an understanding of the functional response of sage-grouse to changes in resource availability is critical. We investigated temporal variation in diet composition and nutrient content (crude protein, calcium, and phosphorus) of foods consumed by preincubating female sage- grouse relative to food supply and age of hen. We collected 86 preincubating female greater sage-grouse at foraging areas during early (18-31 March) and late (1-12 April) preincubation periods during 2002-2003. Females consumed 22 food types including low sagebrush (Artemisia arbuscula Nutt.), big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.), 15 forb species, 2 insect taxa, sagebrush galls, moss, and a trace amount of unidentified grasses. Low sagebrush was the most common food item, but forbs were found in 89% of the crops and composed 30.1% aggregate dry mass (ADM) of the diet. ADM and species composition of female diets were highly variable between collection periods and years, and coincided with temporal variation in forb availability. Adult females consumed more forbs and less low sagebrush compared to yearling females. Because of higher levels of crude protein, calcium, and phosphorus, forbs were important diet components in comparison with low sagebrush, which had the lowest nutrient content of all foods consumed. Our results indicate that increased forb abundance in areas used by female sage-grouse prior to nesting would increase their forb consumption and nutritional status for reproduction. We recommend that managers should emphasize delineation of habitats used by preincubating sage-grouse and evaluate the need for enhancing forb abundance and diversity.