Abstract

This paper uses the technique of spatial point processes to describe the spatial patterns of freeranging cattle and small ruminants. Two mixed-species livestock groups were monitored while foraging on 410 ha of brush-infested Southern New Mexico rangeland during July and August 1988. The groups consisted of crossbred Bos taurus and Bos indicus beef cattle with white-faced sheep (Ovis aries) and mohair goats (Capra hircus). The bonded group consisted of small ruminants that had their behaviours modified through socialization with cattle to form a ‘flerd’ in which small ruminants consistently remained near cattle. Small ruminants in the non-bonded group had not been socialized with cattle. A subset of animal location data measured during the morning and afternoon over five days for both the bonded and non-bonded groups was analyzed for spatial patterns. Only data for five morning periods (7:00-8:00 a.m.) are reported because morning and afternoon spatial patterns were similar. Observed nearest neighbor distances, mean number of small ruminant near an arbitrary cow, and point-to-animal distances were compared to Monte Carlo simulations of independently and uniformly distributed animal locations. Bonded and non-bonded groups were also compared. Results suggested bonded and non-bonded groups were similar in spatial patterns of intra-specific distances for both cattle and small ruminants. However, bonding changed the repulsive relationship observed between cattle and non-bonded small ruminants stocked together to one of inter-specific attraction. Bonded small ruminants remained close to and formed inter-specific clusters with cattle. In addition, the mean number of bonded small ruminants near an arbitrary cow was consistently higher than for non-bonded small ruminants. Finally, the spatial pattern of cattle across the paddock did not differ between bonded and non-bonded groups, while bonded small ruminants tended to disperse slightly more uniformly across the paddock than did non-bonded small ruminants. These findings indicate the usefulness of spatial point processes techniques to analyze such animal location data, substantiate on a larger scale conclusions of previous, replicated studies about the effect of bonding small ruminants to cattle, and suggest utilization of paddock landscapes may be positively influenced using flerds compared to flocks and herds.

Keywords

mixed-species stocking, animal distribution, animal locations, cattle, sheep, goats, flerds

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Apr 25th, 9:15 AM

CHARACTERIZING FORAGING PATTERNS AMONG CATTLE AND BONDED AND NON-BONDED SMALL RUMINANTS USING SPATIAL POINT PROCESS TECHNIQUES

This paper uses the technique of spatial point processes to describe the spatial patterns of freeranging cattle and small ruminants. Two mixed-species livestock groups were monitored while foraging on 410 ha of brush-infested Southern New Mexico rangeland during July and August 1988. The groups consisted of crossbred Bos taurus and Bos indicus beef cattle with white-faced sheep (Ovis aries) and mohair goats (Capra hircus). The bonded group consisted of small ruminants that had their behaviours modified through socialization with cattle to form a ‘flerd’ in which small ruminants consistently remained near cattle. Small ruminants in the non-bonded group had not been socialized with cattle. A subset of animal location data measured during the morning and afternoon over five days for both the bonded and non-bonded groups was analyzed for spatial patterns. Only data for five morning periods (7:00-8:00 a.m.) are reported because morning and afternoon spatial patterns were similar. Observed nearest neighbor distances, mean number of small ruminant near an arbitrary cow, and point-to-animal distances were compared to Monte Carlo simulations of independently and uniformly distributed animal locations. Bonded and non-bonded groups were also compared. Results suggested bonded and non-bonded groups were similar in spatial patterns of intra-specific distances for both cattle and small ruminants. However, bonding changed the repulsive relationship observed between cattle and non-bonded small ruminants stocked together to one of inter-specific attraction. Bonded small ruminants remained close to and formed inter-specific clusters with cattle. In addition, the mean number of bonded small ruminants near an arbitrary cow was consistently higher than for non-bonded small ruminants. Finally, the spatial pattern of cattle across the paddock did not differ between bonded and non-bonded groups, while bonded small ruminants tended to disperse slightly more uniformly across the paddock than did non-bonded small ruminants. These findings indicate the usefulness of spatial point processes techniques to analyze such animal location data, substantiate on a larger scale conclusions of previous, replicated studies about the effect of bonding small ruminants to cattle, and suggest utilization of paddock landscapes may be positively influenced using flerds compared to flocks and herds.