Relative Forage Preference by Cottontails for Ryegrass, Wheat and Subterranean Clover

On 2 sites in southeastern Louisiana, eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) food preference was compared among ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), winter wheat (Triticum aestivum), and subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum). Native forages comprised most of the winter diet. Fecal pellets contained more ryegrass than subterranean clover most months from December through May. Cottontails used little wheat, but this was probably due to poor production of this forage. Cottontail diet selection was not associated with total digestible nutrients, crude protein, phosphorus, calcium. We suspect that the greater use of ryegrass compared to clover was due to differences in cover provided by these forages.

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ID
9330