Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 26, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Grazing herbivores factors determining preference for one forage over another are poorly understood. A statistical procedure called multidimensional scaling (MDS) had been used to study preference, but not in ruminants. The use of MDS systematizes data by generating spatial maps with coordinates relevant to the generally unknown selection criteria of the subjects. In MDS, the subjects rate each pair of stimuli for dissimilarity. With sheep, this was achieved by placing pairs of nine hays for three day periods before six ewes. Prior to the pairing and data collection, each ewe was given an adaptation period of 2 d with each hay. The hays included alfalfa as a positive control along with 4 temperate grass hays and 4 subtropical grass hays. The preference was found to be described by 3 dimensions. Dimension 1 had the greatest influence in preference followed by Dimension 2 which had a greater influence than Dimension 3. Dimension 1 was related to in vitro digestibility, monosaccharide concentration, short chain polysaccharide concentration, and disaccharide concentration.