School of Botany, Trinity College, University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Activity patterns and resource use by sheep and red deer grazing across a grass/heather boundary
Article first published online: 14 MAY 2009
1996 The Zoological Society of London
Journal of Zoology
Volume 240, Issue 4, pages 609–620, December 1996
How to Cite
Hester, A. J., Mitchell, F. J. G., Gordon, I. J. and Baillie, G. J. (1996), Activity patterns and resource use by sheep and red deer grazing across a grass/heather boundary. Journal of Zoology, 240: 609–620. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.1996.tb05311.x
- Issue published online: 14 MAY 2009
- Article first published online: 14 MAY 2009
- (Accepted 2 November 1995)
Diet selection and activities of sheep and red deer grazing alone and together across a grass (primarily Lolium perenne/Agrostis capillaris) and heather (Calluna vulgaris) boundary, between July and October, are described.
Throughout the experiment, both animal species had a much higher proportion of grass than heather in their diet. Time spent grazing on each type of vegetation was similarly greater on grass, and the bite rates of the animals were also more rapid on the grass than on the heather.
Red deer spent more time grazing per 24 hours than did sheep, with sheep grazing less during darkness hours than red deer. Total grazing time of both species did not decrease with decreasing daylength from July to October.
There were no consistent differences in the diurnal patterns of activity of sheep and red deer, with both species showing 2-3 large grazing peaks per day.
There were no consistent effects of mixing sheep and deer on their grazing behaviour and diet composition.