Experimental tests of the palatability of forage plants in greater snow geese.
Trays containing greenhouse-grown pure stands or mixed swards of Phleum pratense or Bromus inermis/Medicago sativa, P. pratense, Dactylis glomerata, B. inermis or Phalaris arundinacea/Lotus corniculatus, D. glomerata/Trifolium pratense or P. pratense/T. pratense were used in 30 min preference tests run by presenting a pair of trays containing mixtures or pure stands to wild-caught captive snow geese (Anser caerulescens atlantica). Among legumes, T. pratense ranked highest and L. corniculatus lowest in preference whereas M. sativa was intermediate. P. arundinacea was the preferred grass species, followed by D. glomerata, B. inermis and P. pratense. Despite species differences in water, NDF, protein and phenol contents preferences expressed by geese were only positively correlated to water content. When palatability alone was considered, substituting L. corniculatus or M. sativa for T. pratense could reduce the attractiveness of hayfields to geese.