Browsing Journal of Range Management, Volume 32, Number 6 (November 1979) by Authors
Diets of Sheep, Angora Goats, Spanish Goats and White-tailed Deer under Excellent Range ConditionsBryant, F. C.; Kothmann, M. M.; Merrill, L. B. (Society for Range Management, 1979-11-01)A study was initiated in August 1975 to illuminate the dietary interrelationships among four kinds of small ruminants on the Edwards Plateau of Texas. Sheep diets were dominated by grass followed by browse, goat diets were nearly equal in percent grass and browse, and deer spent most of their feeding time on browse followed by forbs. Livestock diets were not as high in forbs as expected, indicating that abundant grass due to excellent range condition may relieve livestock pressure on forbs, leaving more forbs for deer. Increased feeding time by deer on grass regrowth, after livestock were removed from the study area in July for a 4-month deferment, indicated that grazing systems were favorable to deer by providing regrowth forage. However, where livestock and deer graze in common, there are periods of competition even under excellent range conditions. These periods were fall and winter for browse, winter and early spring for forbs, and anytime immature grass was available. Relative to deer, sheep probably were most competitive for forbs and succulent grass, while goats, particularly the Spanish goats, were most competitive for browse. Similar annual trends for diets for all kinds of animals for all forage classes suggested competition was primarily for palatable green forage.