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Foraging ecology and nutrition of Stone's Sheep



Abstract:
This study compared the foraging behaviour and nutrition of Stone's sheep (Ovis dalli stonei) which had access to burned range to that of sheep on unburned range throughout the year. In winter, sheep were restricted in low fecal nitrogen and DAPA levels and high Protostrongylus spp. counts. In spring, sheep used either natural or fire-induced subalpine clearings to obtain early new plant growth. Forage quantity was much lower on unburned ranges, but biting rate and foraging time were the same as on burned ranges with high forage biomass. Quality of available forage and food intake where also similar. Sheep moved to higher elevations as the season progressed which provided them with access to the higher quality alpine forage. Regular use fo mineral licks in summer apparently staisfied their sodium requirement. Lamb production was low following severe winters, presumably due to poor nutrition. An explanation for changes in lamb production based on density-dependent selective feeding was developed. A model of nutrient intake is developed to investigate the seasonal pattern of nutition on burned and unburned ranges.

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Full - PDF(6.56MB)
Part 1 - Cover to page 23 PDF(1.91MB)
Part 2 - Pages 24 to 58 PDF(1.36MB)
Part 3 - Pages 59 to 93 PDF(1.63MB)
Part 4 - Pages 94 to 127 PDF(1.66MB)

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