BEHAVIOR OF PANTANEIRA AND GIROLANDO HEIFERS REARED ON PASTURES IN THE FOUR SEASONS OF THE YEAR

ABSTRACT The objective of this study was to evaluate feeding and physiological dynamics of Pantaneira and Girolando heifers reared on pasture and their preference for three types of natural shadows. Fourteen animals, seven of each breed, with mean weight of 328 kg (Pantaneira) and 430 kg (Girolando) were used. The pasture consisted of Panicum maximum; the animals' behavior in open areas and under treetops (Anadenanthera colubrina; Terminalia argentea, and Mangifera indica) was evaluated. Two 24-hour observations were performed per station, totaling 192 hours of data collection. The experimental design was completely randomized, using 4×2×3 (station × breed × canopy) and 4×2 (station and breed) factorial arrangements, with 7 replications. M. indica was the preferred tree species by both breeds in all seasons; Girolando animals remained longer under the canopy of these trees during winter and spring. Feeding dynamics of the two breeds was similar, with a seasonal effect on the standing rumination (SR) variables and social interaction, with Girolando spending more SR time in the spring (230.0 min) and less interaction in the summer (53.57min). Girolando animals searched for water more often during summer. No statistical differences or interactions between factors were found for urination and defecation of the animals, except for defecation in the summer period, which was higher than in the other seasons.