Table of Contents
ISRN Zoology
Volume 2011, Article ID 972804, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2011/972804
Research Article

Activity Budgets and Forage Selection of Podolian Cattle, a Semiwild Bovine Breed

Dipartimento di Scienze delle Produzioni Animali, Università degli Studi della Basilicata, Via dell'Ateneo Lucano 10, 85100 Potenza, Italy

Received 23 February 2011; Accepted 19 March 2011

Academic Editors: B. I. Crother and K. E. Ruckstuhl

Copyright © 2011 Fabio Napolitano et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This study aimed to describe the behaviour of Podolian breed, a semiwild cattle breed kept in a natural environment (as either a small group of young bulls or cows within a family herd), and the interaction of these animals with the environment in terms of ingestion from natural pastures. Diurnal grazing behavioural pattern was monitored through continuous focal animal recording method. The activity budget of free-ranging animals was characterized by high locomotor and feeding activities. They exhibited a high degree of adaptability to the local phytocoenosis with high levels of ferns' and tree foliage intakes performed by cows and the selection of a diet more nutritious than pasture performed by young bulls. These results along with the low levels of agonistic interactions recorded in the two experiments suggest that extensive systems based on grazing allow social stability and provide a natural environment for the expression of cattle species-specific behaviour.