A population of 110 adult fallow deer kept in an enclosure under very intensive conditions (31.4 deer/ha) was observed for 12 h/d (from 0800 to 2000) for 17 d during the birth season in order to study social and feeding behavior under intensive management. Observations were carried out by a scan sampling technique. The feeding activity of all the deer that were not hidden behind trees or other obstacles in the enclosure (60 to 90% of all deer) and the composition and position of all groups were recorded every 20 min by videocamera. Adult females ate more pasture than adult males, whereas adult males ate more hay and meal than females (P < .001). Feeding activity was concentrated in the morning and in the evening, but it was higher for bucks in the morning (when supplementary feed was distributed) than in the midday and in the evening (P < .001). The area where hay and meal were supplied was more frequently attended in morning by small groups of males. Group size was affected by the time of day (P < .05), being larger in the evening (13.6 ± 1.2 in the evening vs 9.8 ± 1.0 in the morning and 11.9 ± 0.9 in the afternoon), when groups of females with fawns and mixed-sex groups (including at least one male) gathered into the pasture areas for grazing. Our study suggests that even under very intensive conditions fallow deer may tend to maintain the sexual segregation typical of this species during the birth season, but mixed-sex groups are still the most common type of social aggregation. This situation was particularly evident in the areas and at the time in which feeding activity was higher and might indicate that feeding requirements are more important than social needs when the space available is limited.
|Titolo:||Feeding and social behavior of fallow deer (Dama dama L.) under intensive pasture confinement|
|Parole Chiave:||Fallow Deer; Feeding Behavior; Social Behavior; Supplementary Feeds|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore AGR/19 - Zootecnica Speciale|
|Data di pubblicazione:||1997|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|