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Extensive ranging by sheep released onto an unfamiliar range

Extensive ranging by sheep released onto an unfamiliar range

Applied Animal Behaviour Science 38(1): 67-73

During radio telemetry studies of domestic sheep on open, forested ranges in Hedmark County in southeastern Norway, several examples of extremely extensive ranging, either by individual sheep introduced into established herds or by herds turned onto unfamiliar ranges, have been recorded. Two such cases are described here. In one herd, two newly purchased Dala ewes strayed nearly 14 km from the herd's normal grazing area. In another herd, comprising one main Dala herd and several individuals purchased from other smaller herds, 101 ewes and 152 lambs spread widely during the course of the summer, and eventually occupied an area of at least 150 km-2. Efficient range use depends upon an animals's familiarity with the range and its distribution of resources, and upon an animal's social integration into the rest of the herd. This must be considered when attempting to increase herd size by combining sheep from different herds, and when changes in public policy seek to limit the use of traditional sheep ranges.

Accession: 002379245

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DOI: 10.1016/0168-1591(93)90043-o

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