Food and Feeding Behaviour of the Forest Deer
Much detailed research has been undertaken on the feeding behaviour and diet of deer in the New Forest (e.g. Jackson 1974, 1977, 1980; Mann 1983; Parfitt 1985) and consequently we know a great deal about the food habits of the major species: fallow, roe and sika. Patterns of habitat use in foraging are virtually identical to those described for overall patterns of habitat occupancy: foraging largely dictates habitat choice, and changes in food availability are primarily responsible for seasonal change in habitat use. As a result, we may concentrate in this chapter on the actual diet and dietary intake of the three species: comparing dietary composition in the New Forest with that recorded for the deer elsewhere in their range, and considering the degree of dietary overlap experienced by the three species where they co-occur in the New Forest — a potential source of competition in seasons of food scarcity.
KeywordsFeeding Behaviour Sika Deer Fallow Deer Pellet Group Faecal Analysis
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