• Diets of goats grazing oak shrubland of varying cover in northern Greece

      Papachristou, T. G.; Nastis, A. S. (Society for Range Management, 1993-05-01)
      The effects of 3 brush cover proportions (Low Brush pasture: 52% brush/32% herbage, Medium Brush pasture: 62% brush/20% herbage, and High Brush pasture: 66% brush/12% herbage) on dietary selection of goats in northern Greece were investigated. Diet samples were collected from esophageally fistulated goats during 14 grazing periods at monthly intervals from June 1987 to July 1988. Kermes oak foliage (Quercus coccifera L.) was the main component of the available forage in all pastures during all grazing periods. The herbaceous component contributed more than 50% for the goats' diet during spring for Low Brush pasture, 46% for Medium Brush pasture, and 40% for High Brush pasture. In the remaining grazing periods, goats selected larger quantities of browse. For Low Brush pasture browse contribution ranged from 48% to 66%, for Medium Brush from 54% to 77%, and for High Brush from 66% to 80%. Leaves of all forage species contributed more than 56% during all test periods. The quantities of twigs from shrubs and stems from herbaceous species were low but constant during all test periods. Fruits and flowers, despite representing low percentages of the overall production, were important for the animals' nutrition, since they provided a high percentage of nutrients. Our results indicated that goats adapted diets to forage class availability.