P.D. Penning, S.M. Rutter and R.A. Champion
Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, North Wyke Research Station, Okehampton, United Kingdom
A knowledge of grazing behaviour is important in understanding the relationship between the sward and nutrient supply to grazing animals. This information is required to develop welfare-friendly' farming systems that maximise the contribution of grazed herbage to the total nutrient requirements of the animal.
This paper describes recent developments in the automatic recording of analogue signals of jaw activity of grazing animals using a solid state recorder carried on the animal. Examples of the wave forms associated with biting, masticating, ruminating and other activities will be presented. How these signals may be stored and subsequently analysed by a computer program to give times spent eating, ruminating and idling will be discussed. Examples will be given of temporal patterns of behaviour measured using this technique. In addition techniques to measure lying, standing and walking in free ranging animals will also be described and compared.