Patkowski, K., Pluta, M., Lipiec, A., Greguła-Kania, M., & Gruszecki, T. M. (2018). Foraging Behavior Patterns of Sheep and Horses Under a Mixed Species Grazing System. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 1-7.
The research objective was to assess the behavior patterns of the Polish Konik horse breed and the Uhruska variety of the Polish Lowland Sheep breed under a mixed-grazing system, and their relationship with climatic factors. The observation included 4 adult horses, 27 ewes with lambs and 10 primiparous ewes. The behavior of the animals and the weather conditions were recorded at 60-min intervals. Horses and sheep displayed similarities in both species-specific behavioral patterns and timing of grazing activity, and the duration of foraging sessions was mostly influenced by time of day, lower temperature and relative humidity. In addition, the two species showed more interest in the watering place in the afternoon, and drinking frequency was mainly dependent on air temperature. The animals that pastured together gradually began to mix, but at first, they remained within their species group. Both animal species can be used for environmental protection and landscape conservation making rational use of pastures within protected areas.
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