Date of Award

5-2013

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Gary S. Kleppel

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare the health of sheep grazed in a quasi-wild landscape (Norman’s Kill Farm, an abandoned dairy) as part of a targeted grazing research project, to that of sheep in a conventional agricultural pasture setting (Longfield Farm). This study tested the null hypothesis that there is no difference between the health and nutrition of sheep in a domestic setting and those in a wild setting. Sheep on the quasi-wild landscape were healthier than those on the agricultural setting, having healthier body condition scores. The mean body condition scores of the sheep at Longfield was 3.48 with a standard deviation of 0.69, and at Norman’s Kill the mean body condition score was 3.30 with a standard deviation of 0.27. The Norman’s Kill flock had a more ideal body condition score (the standard is 3.0), as well as less variable body condition scores. The sheep also had access to and consumed a more diverse diet than those in the pastoral setting, as shown by the microhistological determination of the diet. It would appear that quasi-wild landscapes offer a more nutritionally diverse environment than conventional pastures, which, in turn, can produce healthier livestock.

Included in

Biology Commons

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