Livestock feeding ecology and resource utilization in a nomadic pastoral ecosystem.
Seasonal patterns of forage selection, diet diversity, and habitat use were quantified for livestock managed by the Ngisonyoka Turkana in arid NW Kenya by direct observation of free-ranging herds. Calculated across all seasons, the diet composition for total herbaceous, dwarf shrub, and all other browse forages, resp., was: cattle (96%, 4%, 0%); donkeys (71%, 28%, <1%); sheep (67%, 28%, 5%); goats (36%, 27%, 37%); and camels (5%, 72%, 23%). Cattle and camels were grazers and browsers, resp., while goats, sheep and donkeys were mixed feeders on herbaceous and non-herbaceous vegetation. Diet composition changed significantly with season for all livestock except cattle. Livestock generally exhibited the greatest diet similarity in dry periods but were most segregated in terms of feeding habitats during these times.