• Pre-laying nutrition of sage grouse hens in Oregon

      Barnett, J. K.; Crawford, J. A. (Society for Range Management, 1994-03-01)
      Diet, dietary selection, and nutritional composition of the food of sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) hens were determined during the pre-laying period in southeastern Oregon in 1990 an 1991. We collected 42 female sage grouse during a 5-week period preceding incubation (4 March-8 April). Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) was the most common among 21 foods consumed but forbs composed 18 to 50% of the diet by weight. Desert-parsley (Lomatium spp.), hawksbeard (Crepis spp.), long-leaf phlox (Phlox longifolia Nutt.), everlasting (Antennaria spp.), mountain-dandelion (Agoseris spp.), clover (Trifolium spp.), Pursh's milk-vetch (Astragalus purshii Dougl.), buckwheat (Eriogonum spp.), and obscure milk-vetch (A. obscurus) were the primary (greater than or equal to 1% of the diet by weight) forbs consumed. Forbs were used selectively over sagebrush in both low and big sagebrush cover types. All forbs were higher in crude protein and phosphorus and many were higher in calcium than sagebrush. Consumption of forbs increased nutrient content of the composite diet. Substantially fewer forbs were present in the diet in 1991 than in 1990, which coincided with reduced sage grouse productivity on the study area. These results suggest that consumption of forbs during the pre-laying period may effect reproductive success by improving nutritional status of hens.