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Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Further Observations on the Plants Eaten by Kangaroos and Sheep Grazing Together in a Paddock in South-Western Queensland

M Griffiths, R Barker and L Maclean

Australian Wildlife Research 1(1) 27 - 43
Published: 1974


In 8 periods between February 1967 and June 1968, covering a severe drought and subsequent rain, samples of 66 species of dicotyledons and 50 species of monocotyledons were collected from a large paddock in semiarid 'mulga-box' country in south-western Queensland. The mean N content of the dicotyledons ranged from 1.51 to 2.85 g/100 g DM, and that of the monocotyledons from 0.70 to 1.86 g/100 g DM.Stomach or faecal samples were analysed for plant parts. When known plant mixtures were given to 2 grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus) and two sheep there was no species difference in the digestibility of the different plants or in the size distribution of faecal particles. Comparison of stomach and rectal samples from 5 shot kangaroos and 7 shot sheep showed quite good agreement. Samples of the faeces of sheep, grey kangaroo and a few red kangaroo (Megaleia rufa) were collected from the ground at the same intervals as the plant samples, dried and analysed for N and for plant parts. Detailed results are given. The grey kangaroos consistently ate more grasses than the sheep. The N content of sheep faeces was higher than that of kangaroo faeces, reflecting the higher protein intake of the sheep. The results confirm those of an earlier study (NAR 38, 1829) made in 1963–4 in a period of average rainfall. The authors conclude that competition between sheep and kangaroos is small.

© CSIRO 1974

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