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Grazing behaviour of free-ranging donkeys and Shetland ponies in different reproductive states
Lamoot, I.; Vandenberghe, C.; Bauwens, D.; Hoffmann, M. (2004). Grazing behaviour of free-ranging donkeys and Shetland ponies in different reproductive states, in: Lamoot, I. Foraging behaviour and habitat use of large herbivores in coastal dune landscape = Foerageergedrag en habitatgebruik van grote herbivoren in een kustduinlandschap. pp. 108-126
In: Lamoot, I. (2004). Foraging behaviour and habitat use of large herbivores in coastal dune landscape = Foerageergedrag en habitatgebruik van grote herbivoren in een kustduinlandschap. PhD Thesis. Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek: Brussel. ISBN 90-403-2047-2. 246 pp., more
Related to:
Lamoot, I.; Vandenberghe, C.; Bauwens, D.; Hoffmann, M. (2005). Grazing behaviour of free-ranging donkeys and Shetland ponies in different reproductive states. J. Ethol. 23(1): 19-27. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10164-004-0123-5, more

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Keywords
    Grazing time; Lactation
Author keywords
    lactation; equids; horses; grazing time; bite

Authors  Top 
  • Lamoot, I., more
  • Vandenberghe, C.
  • Bauwens, D., more
  • Hoffmann, M., more

Abstract
    We investigated how free-ranging mares of two species of equids (donkeys and Shetland ponies) modify their foraging behaviour to meet the increased nutritional requirements induced by lactation. We initially hypothesised that lactating mares would graze for a longer time and/or graze faster than non-lactating (dry) mares. The grazing behaviour of free-ranging animals. foraging in two low-productive dune areas, was recorded during I year. Results show that in both species lactating animals did. not spend more time grazing than non-lactating mares. However, lactating animals took more bites, and therefore achieved a higher bite rate than dry mares. Several factors affected the differences between lactating and non-lactating animals, Lactating mares took more bites only in grassy and rough vegetations and they did this only in patches with a short sward height. In addition, lactating mares took more bites of grasses only and not of forbs or woody plants. We con- clude that the extra grazing effort of the lactating animals was not distributed randomly. Lactating mares invested their extra grazing effort principally towards those items that are the most grazed by the equids in general. We propose some hypotheses to explain why lactating mares increase their bite rate instead of augmenting the time spent grazing.

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