ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 55 Number 2
Grazing behaviour of sheep under tree crops in Ghana
The grazing behaviour of yearling and mature West African Dwarf sheep (WAD), WAD x Nungua Black Head and WAD x Long Legged Sahelian sheep in kola and oil palm plantation was observed from 06.00 to 18.00 hours for 42 days. Grazing time was 7·7 h, idling time 1·1 h and resting time 1·7 h. Rumination, drinking and nibbling time were 0·5 h each. Grazing activity times differed significantly for the wet and dry seasons but were unaffected by age and breed of sheep. Temperature and rainfall were not related to the behaviour of the sheep, but grazing time was positively correlated with hours of sunshine. Peaks in the daily grazing cycle occurred during three periods, 08.30 to 09.30, 13.30 to 15.30 and 16.00 to 17.00 hours and these alternated with peaks of rumination, resting and drinking. The extent of scatter and formation of groups during grazing were also studied in two flocks of 110 and 170 sheep. The formation of two groups was most prevalent in the two flock (69·9 and 48· 3 per cent respectively), but three groups were also common within the flock of 170 sheep (32·2 per cent). Both within and between group scattering decreased with increasing formation of multiple groups. A flock of about 100 sheep is suggested as a suitable size lo be tended by one man under low growing tree crops.