Know more

Our use of cookies

Cookies are a set of data stored on a user’s device when the user browses a web site. The data is in a file containing an ID number, the name of the server which deposited it and, in some cases, an expiry date. We use cookies to record information about your visit, language of preference, and other parameters on the site in order to optimise your next visit and make the site even more useful to you.

To improve your experience, we use cookies to store certain browsing information and provide secure navigation, and to collect statistics with a view to improve the site’s features. For a complete list of the cookies we use, download “Ghostery”, a free plug-in for browsers which can detect, and, in some cases, block cookies.

Ghostery is available here for free:

You can also visit the CNIL web site for instructions on how to configure your browser to manage cookie storage on your device.

In the case of third-party advertising cookies, you can also visit the following site:, offered by digital advertising professionals within the European Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA). From the site, you can deny or accept the cookies used by advertising professionals who are members.

It is also possible to block certain third-party cookies directly via publishers:

Cookie type

Means of blocking

Analytical and performance cookies

Google Analytics

Targeted advertising cookies


The following types of cookies may be used on our websites:

Mandatory cookies

Functional cookies

Social media and advertising cookies

These cookies are needed to ensure the proper functioning of the site and cannot be disabled. They help ensure a secure connection and the basic availability of our website.

These cookies allow us to analyse site use in order to measure and optimise performance. They allow us to store your sign-in information and display the different components of our website in a more coherent way.

These cookies are used by advertising agencies such as Google and by social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Among other things, they allow pages to be shared on social media, the posting of comments, and the publication (on our site or elsewhere) of ads that reflect your centres of interest.

Our EZPublish content management system (CMS) uses CAS and PHP session cookies and the New Relic cookie for monitoring purposes (IP, response times).

These cookies are deleted at the end of the browsing session (when you log off or close your browser window)

Our EZPublish content management system (CMS) uses the XiTi cookie to measure traffic. Our service provider is AT Internet. This company stores data (IPs, date and time of access, length of the visit and pages viewed) for six months.

Our EZPublish content management system (CMS) does not use this type of cookie.

For more information about the cookies we use, contact INRA’s Data Protection Officer by email at or by post at:

24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

Menu Logo Principal

Home page

Food harvesting by small ruminants foraging on rangeland and woodland undergrowth

INRA Prod. Anim., 10(5), 391-401.


INRA Département SAD Unité d’Ecodéveloppement, Domaine Saint-Paul, Site Agroparc, 84914 Avignon cedex 9



When fed on rangelands small ruminants develop an opportunistic feeding behaviour enabling them to make the most of heterogeneous and greatly variable resources. Their narrow jaws enable them to select food particles from the mix of green tissue and dead plant matter. They also develop adapted harvesting behaviour like ’stripping’ lateral leaves off the plant stems by vertical traction. For their part, plants may respond to browsing by morphological changes. European rangelands combining rough open grazingland and woodland undergrowth generally offer well developed tree and shrub foliage as well as creepers, an asset for very fast intake. By harvesting a large mass of material at each ingestive bite (approx. from 0.4 to 1.4 g dry matter) small ruminants are able to make time for discriminating between food materials while at the same time maintaining during their meal an intake rate higher than that observed on swards with a grass height of 20 to 30 cm (about 0.5 g DM/min/kg LW0.75). On some rangelands consisting chiefly of small-leafed foliage and thorny shrubs, prehension is however limited and intake is twice as slow. In woodland undergrowth, the tridimensional arrangement of feeding materials enables the animals to attack them from different angles and to progressively push up the browsing height as the lower layers are being defoliated. The animals are able to limit variations in the leaf to stem ratio in their daily intake through such adjustments. During the grazing circuit, the animals string together a succession of harvesting sites where the ’linear ingested mass’ is high (gram intake per metre travelled) alternating with episodes when they explore the surroundings and diversify their meals. Rapid intake on certain sites gives the animals time to prospect the area and also to ruminate foods that contains sometimes poorly digestible fibers. In order that animal husbandry practices can profit from such heterogeneous areas, the animals need to be fed on pastures combining sites of fast intake with intermediate areas permitting circulation and meal diversification.

Download documents