Greener Journal of Agricultural Sciences

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Hungwe et al

Greener Journal of  Agricultural Sciences Vol. 3 (12), pp. 787-793, December 2013.

 ISSN: 2276-7770 

Research Paper

Manuscript Number: 101613903

 

Influence of Communal Area Grazing Management System on the Foraging Behaviour of Steers in a Semi-Arid Area of Zimbabwe

 

Hungwe Tinoziva1*, Mutisi Charles2, Mugabe Prisca2 and Gwazani Rachel1

 

1Department of Livestock, Wildlife and Fisheries, School  of Agricultural Sciences, Great Zimbabwe University,

P. O. Box 1235, Masvingo, Zimbabwe.

2Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zimbabwe.

 

*Corresponding Author’s Email: hungwetinoziva @ gmail.com


Abstract:

A study was conducted to determine the influence of grazing management system on the foraging behaviour of steers in semiarid area of Zimbabwe. Foraging behaviour was determined through direct observations of focal animals. Four draught steers were observed in either the grazing scheme or under the traditional grazing management over the early, mid and late rainy seasons. Grazing was found to be the most dominant foraging activity under the two grazing systems. The time spent grazing was significantly (P<0.05) affected by the interaction between grazing management system and season. As the season progressed, grazing time increased for animals in grazing schemes. In grazing schemes, browsing was strongly marked during the early and late rainy seasons. The time spent by animals walking was higher (P<0.05) for steers under the traditional system. Other idling activities, such as drinking water were curtailed in grazing schemes due to the absence of watering points in some paddocks. These findings suggest that grazing schemes tended to limit foraging activities, possibly due to limited range resources. The ability of cattle under traditional grazing system to switch effectively among different patches might have contributed to their foraging activities.
 
Keywords: foraging behaviour, steers, communal grazing management, grazing scheme, traditional grazing system.

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