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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DISTURBANCE ASSESSMENT AND MITIGATION OF GREAT BASIN RANGELAND

Location: Northwest Watershed Management Research

Title: Comparison of the diurnal pattern and magnitude of velocities of goats (Capra Hircus), sheep (Ovis Aries), horses (Equus Caballus) and cattle (Bos Taurus)

Authors
item Louhaichi, Mounir -
item Johnson, Michael -
item Wilson, Kerry -
item Larson, Larry -
item Johnson, Douglas -
item Clark, Patrick

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2009
Publication Date: February 10, 2010
Citation: Louhaichi, M., Johnson, M.D., Wilson, K.D., Larson, L.L., Johnson, D.E., Clark, P. 2010. Comparison of the diurnal pattern and magnitude of velocities of goats (Capra Hircus), sheep (Ovis Aries), horses (Equus Caballus) and cattle (Bos Taurus). Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts.

Technical Abstract: Domestic ungulates were bred over the last four thousand years to provide man with food, fiber and motive power. Cattle, horses, sheep and goats arose from different animal ancestors and serve different purposes based upon their unique characteristics. We hypothesized that each species would have different diurnal activity patterns under free-roaming conditions that result from their body size, digestive system, leg length and vulnerability to predators. Animals of each species were collared with GPS units that recorded position (latitude, longitude, and elevation), date/time, velocity, and quality of the positional fix at 1 second intervals for 6.25 days. Data were separated into 24-hour periods and partitioned into classes based on mean velocity over a 61 second running duration. Velocities vs. time of day graphs were also constructed to show periods of movement and quiescence. Goats were typically active throughout the day with a noon resting period. The herd typically moves to an open hill or rise at sunset where they remain throughout the night. This suggests that animals feel more secure in a close herd with good visibility of the surrounding terrain. Cattle tend to be uniform and predictable in their activity with period of movement in early morning and in the afternoon/evening. They typically graze during the night but not as intensely as during the day. Horses are very busy animals with many periods of movement throughout the day and night punctuated with short rests. The horses that we observed traveled further than cattle, sheep, or goats on a daily bases.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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