The University of Arizona

Diets of Nubian and Granadina Goats Grazing on Arid Rangeland

Miguel Mellado, Alvaro Rodriguez, Abundio Olvera, Jose A. Villarreal, Ramiro Lopez


A study was conducted to test the hypothesis that Granadina goats are better suited than Nubian goats to utilize the forage resources of the Chihuahuan desert range. Diet composition (microhistological analysis of fecal samples) and selection relative to availability were investigated among nonpregnant, nonlactating adult Nubian (n = 6) and Granadina (n = 6) goats grazing rangeland during the rainy period. Granadina goats consumed more (P < 0.05) shrubs (70.6 %) than Nubians (52.5 %). Atriplex canescens (Pursh.) Nut., Acacia farnesiana (L.) Willd., and Larrea tridentata (DC.) Coy. were more important (P < 0.05) forage species for Granadina than for Nubian goats. Forbs consumption was higher (39.1 %; P < 0.05) for Nubians compared with Granadinas (27.7 %). Grass consumption was 8.4% and 1.7% for Nubian and Granadina goats, respectively (P < 0.01). In general, both breeds showed the greatest preference for shrubs and forbs. The diet overlap between breeds was moderate (similarity index = 68). The evidence of this study suggests that in the Chihuahuan desert range, Granadina goats were folivorous (browsers) and rarely grazed in the rainy season, whereas Nubians diversify their diet utilizing a variety of forage classes.



Botanical composition; diet preference; grazing pattern; goat breeds; microhistological analysis

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