Browsing Journal of Range Management, Volume 40, Number 1 (January 1987) by Subjects
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Seasonal Diets of Camels, Cattle, Sheep, and Goats in a Common Range in Eastern AfricaAlthough there have been several reports on the food habits of domestic herbivores in various semiarid regions of the world, there has been no previous report on the partitioning of forage resources by camels (Camelus dromedarius) and sheep (Ovis aries), goats (Capra hircus) and cattle (Bos indicus) using a common range. In the semiarid region of northern Kenya, the seasonal exploitation by these herbivores resulting from herding by the nomadic Rendille pastoralists makes the system for management of these rangelands very complex. Information on the food habits of animals utilizing a common range is important in offering a basis for assessing the usefulness of the range components to the animals. Consequently, food habits information becomes an important tool in making management decisions. Camels were predominantly browsers while cattle were predominantly grazers. Sheep and goats were intermediate feeders. Cattle browsed most during the 'green' season when the browse shoots were most abundant and easiest for their large mouth parts to harvest. Camels grazed most during the very dry season when most trees and shrubs had shed their leaves. The observed variations in food habits among the 4 herbivores suggest that they may require different management to obtain optimum production.