Jump to Main Content
Diurnal behavior of Kiko wethers in southern-pine silvopastures planted with warm-season forages
- Poudel, Sanjok, Karki, Uma, Karki, Yubaraj, Tillman, Asha
- Small ruminant research 2019 v.175 pp. 1-6
- Lespedeza cuneata, Paspalum notatum, Pinus palustris, Pinus taeda, cold season, computer software, data analysis, debarking, diurnal activity, forage, goats, grazing, silvopastoral systems, trees, warm season, wethers, Alabama
- Goats are the common grazing livestock integrated into the silvopasture system. Previous grazing studies with goats in southern-pine silvopastures showed significant debarking of pine trees during the cool-season grazing period. However, goats’ behavior in this system during the warm-season grazing period has not been previously reported. The objective of the study was to determine the diurnal behavior and distribution pattern of Kiko wethers in southern-pine silvopastures planted with warm-season forages. The study was conducted at the Atkins Agroforestry Research and Demonstration Site, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama, USA. The study site consisted of three silvopasture plots (0.4-ha each) comprising 12-year-old longleaf (Pinus palustris Mill.) and loblolly (Pinus taeda L.) pines, with a tree density of 402 trees ha−1 (loblolly: longleaf ratio – 1.27). Study plots were divided into three zones, and three different warm-season forages were grown in these zones. Forage samples were collected and analyzed for productivity and quality. Ten Kiko wethers (2.75–2.90-year-old, 62.9 ± 1.56 kg BW) were rotationally stocked in the study plots, and their diurnal behavior and distribution pattern studied when they were in each study plot. Data were analyzed using Kruskal–Wallis rank-sum test in R-package. Grazing was the predominant diurnal behavior (46%) shown by Kiko wethers followed by staying in shelters (22%) and lying (17%). Wethers did not show any pine debarking behavior. Wethers spent predominant diurnal time in Zone 3 (42%) planted with sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata (Dum. Cours.) G. Don) that had the highest quality forages followed by Zone 1 (31%) planted with bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flueggé). Kiko wethers could be safe to stock in southern-pine silvopastures containing 12-year-old trees during the warm-season grazing period.