Monday 30 September 2013

Diet selection by domestic goats on a really nice day

I have instructions from Dormouse to slow down, take siestas and idle. Today was ideal idling weather," Indian Summer" so I took the goats up the hill. They do need a leader....Me. Otherwise they just lie about in the sun chewing cud. If I set off up the hill they follow and discover a wonderful smorgasbord buffet of vegetation which they can't resist. They eat more than they would have done and Pia gives more milk, more in.... more out. Yield is largely determined by intake of energy.

When I stop to sit down, they stop and start grazing / browsing whatever is available, when I move they move until I stop again in a new patch of grass or shrubs. Lying on dry heather in the sun is a good time to observe their grazing behaviour. This afternoon they ate, common rush, yellow flag iris leaves, bent grass, red fescue, Yorkshire fog, mosses and lichens and some that I must have missed.

There's a PhD in this for someone, field observations while lying

in the sun, with the wind rustling the grasses and goats contentedly eating. The lab and statistical analysis could be done in a warm place in the depths of winter... the title, " Herbage selection by domestic goats ". I'll have to see if there are any references.

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