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