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Global positioning system for monitoring spatial relationships of grazing goats within and across pastures

M. Villaquiran, T. A. Gipson, J. Joseph, and A. L. Goetsch

E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research, Langston University, Langston, OK

Herd dynamics for goats is not as well understood as for other grazing species, especially how differing genotypes affects spatial aspects or how herds in adjacent pastures interact spatially. The objective of this study was to investigate spatial relationships in a herd of mixed genotype goats. In one 2-ha pasture (East, E) containing 30 Angora (A) and Boer-cross (B) goats, global positioning system (GPS) collars were fitted to one A, two B, and their guard dog (D). In the adjacent 2-ha pasture (West, W) also containing 30 A and B, GPS were fitted to one A and one B. GPS fixed longitude and latitude every 30 min for 2 wk. D had access to both pastures. After post-differential correction, minimum distance traveled between consecutive fixes (3,922 observations) and distance between any two animals at the same fix time (4,265 observations) were calculated using spherical geometry. The repeated measures, mixed model included animal identity, genotype, pasture location, and fix time with identity nested within genotype as a random effect. During day, D traveled most (60.9 ± 2.32 m), A and B least (36.4 ± 1.58 m) and (36.9 ± 1.26 m), respectively. At night, A, B, and D traveled less than during day (22.5 ± 2.07 m), (18.3 ± 1.67 m) and (21.7 ± 2.85 m), respectively. Within pasture, A-B goat distance (19.9 ± 3.91 m) was not different from the B-B distance (12.7 ± 6.79 m). During day, distance among goats was 21.5 ± 3.55 m and 16.6 ± 3.54 m at night. Distances of D with goats in W were greatest during day (100.7 ± 2.17 m) and least at night (75.1 ± 2.08 m) and distances of D with goats in E were greatest during day (40.4 ± 1.98 m) and least at night (35.2 ± 1.82 m). Genotype of goat did not affect spatial relationships; however, time of day did, with distance traveled and distance between animals greater during day than at night.


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