Feeding Characteristics of Livestock Species 
and Potential Impact on the Environment

Species Natural feed resources Specific abilities Feed intake behaviour  Impact on environment Impact prolonged exposure




grass & weeds

sharp look at short distance

small sharp beck

long toes, strong nails

pick up small particles

soil scratching and trampling in search for seeds and insects

elimination of lower vegetation cover 

strong reduction of soil fauna

bare soil under

shrubs and trees

poor soil fauna



roots and tubers

fruits and seeds

grass and weeds

faeces other species

strong nose

sensitive nose

big strong tusks

turning over soil in search of feed

up root feed

turning over of soil and vegetation 

damaging shrubs and trees

Ploughed soil mixed with residues 

dead remnants of shrubs and trees



young leaves and sprouts of grass and herbs

pods and seeds

small beck

sensitive lips

strong legs

long distance runners

select young leaves and sprouts from standing grass vegetation

can cover a large area

elimination of perennial grasses


standing hay annuals

scattered shrubs and trees



young leaves and sprouts of grass, shrubs and trees

pods and seeds

small beck

strong jaws

sensitive lips

can stand on hind legs

climbing abilities

select bark, young leaves and sprouts from standing (thorn) shrubs and trees

reach poorly accessible sources

elimination young shrubs and trees standing hay

old shrubs and trees



young mature and dry grass


sensitive tongue

sensitive smell

large beck

select palatable species

avoids dung patches 

high intake per bite

requires high density of available feed

elimination palatable grasses

formation of cattle tracks and open spaces

bare soil on tracks

open spaces with non palatable grass and herbs alternated with bush formations



young leaves and sprouts of shrubs and trees; pods;

young mature and dry grass

Sensitive lips

Sensitive tongue

long legs

long neck

long distance runner

Select young leaves and sprouts from shrubs and trees at higher layers of vegetation

Grazes grass

can cover large areas

elimination of young and mature shrubs and trees elimination of perennial grass open plains with

annual grasses and remnants of old shrubs and trees

Equines Young sprouts of grass and herbs

Standing hay

Teeth also in upper jaw 

Sensitive nose

Sensitive smell

Cut very short from ground

Browse including barks

Avoid patches with own faeces

Elimination of palatable grass and herbs; stands of old grass around faeces patches Poor palatable creepers or bare soil alternated with patches of old grass; old shrubs and trees

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