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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Sheep and Goat Preference for and Nutritional Value of Mediterranean Maquis Shrubs

Authors
item Rogosic, J - UNIV. OF SPLIT
item PFISTER, JAMES
item Provenza, Fred - UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY
item Grbesa, D - UNIV. OF ZAGREB

Submitted to: Small Ruminant Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2006
Publication Date: July 1, 2006
Citation: Rogosic, J., Pfister, J.A., Provenza, F.D., Grbesa, D. 2006. Sheep and goat preference for and nutritional value of mediterranean maquis shrubs. Small Ruminant Research. 64 (2006) 169-179.

Interpretive Summary: Rangelands in Croatia and throughout the Mediterranean basin are dominated by shrubs. The objective of this study was to evaluate the nutritive value, intake and preferences of sheep and goats for the dominant 6 shrubs of the holly oak shrublands in Croatia. The experimental sheep were a local Croatian mixed breed. The experimental goats were a mixture of domestic goats crossed with Saanen and Alpine breeds. Goats had higher intakes than sheep of each shrub except Quercus ilex. In Trial 1, shrub intake for goats ranged from 17.7 ± 0.72 g/kg B.W. for Pistacia lentiscus to 33.1 ± 1.40 g/kg B.W. for Erica multiflora. Goats ate more Arbutus unedo (19.9 vs. 14.2 g/kg B.W., respectively); Erica multiflora (33.1 vs. 21.9 g/kg B.W., respectively) and Pistacia lenticus (17.2 vs. 10.6 g/kg B.W., respectively) than did sheep. Goats ate twice as much Juniperus phoeniceae as did sheep (21.0 vs. 10.9 g/kg B.W.), and also ate more Viburnum tinus than did sheep (22.6 vs. 13.9 g/kg B.W.). In Trial 2, the rank order of preference (highest to least) for goats were Quercus ilex, Erica multiflora, Viburnum tinus, Arbutus unedo, Juniperus phoeniceae, and Pistacia lentiscus. The rank order by sheep was similar: Quercus ilex, Erica multiflora, Viburnum tinus, Juniperus phoeniceae, Pistacia lentiscus, and Arbutus unedo. Overall, goats ate 50.5 g/kg B.W. of shrubs per day, while sheep averaged 26.7 g/kg B.W. each day. Goats are better suited to graze Mediterranean shrubland; this has implications for plant diversity and as a means to reduce fire risk during the dry season.

Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to evaluate the nutritive value, intake and preferences of sheep and goats for the dominant 6 shrubs of the holly oak maquis-type shrublands in Croatia. The experimental sheep (n=12, mean weight 28.5 kg) were a local Croatian mixed breed. The experimental goats (n=12, mean weight 13.4 kg) were a mixture of domestic goats crossed with Saanen and Alpine breeds. Sheep and goats differed (P<0.01) in consumption of almost all of the shrubs. Goats had higher intakes (g/kg B.W., P<0.01) than sheep of each shrub except Quercus ilex. In Trial 1, shrub intake for goats ranged from 17.7 ± 0.72 g/kg B.W. for Pistacia lentiscus to 33.1 ± 1.40 g/kg B.W. for Erica multiflora. Goats ate more Arbutus unedo (P=0.004; 19.9 vs. 14.2 g/kg B.W., respectively); Erica multiflora (33.1 vs. 21.9 g/kg B.W., respectively) and Pistacia lenticus (17.2 vs. 10.6 g/kg B.W., respectively) than did sheep. Goats ate twice as much Juniperus phoeniceae (P=0.002) as did sheep (21.0 vs. 10.9 g/kg B.W.), and also ate more Viburnum tinus (P=0.02) than did sheep (22.6 vs. 13.9 g/kg B.W.). There was a day x treatment interaction (P=0.001), with goats eating more Arbutus unedo, Erica multiflora, Juniperus phoeniceae, Pistacia lenticus and Viburnum tinus than sheep. In Trial 2, the rank order of preference (highest to least) for goats were Quercus ilex, Erica multiflora, Viburnum tinus, Arbutus unedo, Juniperus phoeniceae, and Pistacia lentiscus. The rank order by sheep was similar: Quercus ilex, Erica multiflora, Viburnum tinus, Juniperus phoeniceae, Pistacia lentiscus, and Arbutus unedo. Overall, goats ate 50.5 g/kg B.W. of shrubs per day, while sheep averaged 26.7 g/kg B.W. each day. Goats are better suited to graze Mediterranean maquis in terms of potential shrub use.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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