Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/3/2007
Publication Date: 1/26/2008
Citation: Clark, P., Larson, L., Richman, L., Johnson, D.E., Ganskopp, D.C., Louhaichi, M. 2008. Spatial behavior of domestic goats (capra hircus) grazing a central oregon rangeland. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts. Building Bridges:Grasslands to Rangelands. Conservation Effects Assesment Program Poster#14.
Technical Abstract: Goats are inquisitive and intelligent animals that have been used for meat, milk, skins and fiber since their domestication approximately 6,000 years ago. They have dynamic social orders and are adept at grazing a wide variety of landscapes and vegetation types. In spite of a long association with humans, detailed information on domestic goat movement and grazing patterns in relation to landscape configuration is lacking. We designed this study to elucidate the diurnal movement patterns of goats, including travel distance and velocities, in relation to vegetation type and topography. The experiment was conducted during the summers of 2006 and 2007 one and one half km SSE of the Burns, Oregon airport. The study pasture was 29.32 ha (72.6 acres) and consisted of a relatively flat plain bisected by a slough. Five trials of six day duration were conducted with either 5 (2006) or 10 (2007) GPS collared adult does in a herd of approximately 250 does. Collected information included: GPS time, latitude, longitude, altitude, velocity and estimates of fix quality. Goats were observed periodically during the day by researchers who noted animal/herd activity. Periods when animals were stationary were extracted and mapped as were slow movement (0.1 to 0.4 m/s) and rapid movement (>0.4 m/s). Goats were mostly stationary at night and their night camps typically were in areas with little brush or other visual obstructions and close to human habitation. Goats also were stationary at mid-day. Goat movement was largely confined to morning and afternoon/evening grazing periods. High velocity movement occurred between foraging areas and water while slow movement was largely associated with grazing. Natural travel routes were the consequence of pasture boundaries and landscape configuration.