Social information, social feeding, and competition in group-living goats (Capra hircus) Academic Article uri icon


  • There are both benefits (eg, social information) and costs (eg, intraspecific competition) for individuals foraging in groups. To ascertain how group-foraging goats (Capra hircus) deal with these trade-offs, we asked 1) do goats use social information to make foraging decisions and 2) how do they adjust their intake rate in light of having attracted by other group members? To establish whether goats use social information, we recorded their initial choice of different quality food patches when they were ignorant of patch quality and when they could observe others foraging. After determining that goats use social information, we recorded intake rates while they fed alone and in the presence of potential competitors. Intake rate increased as the number of competitors increased. Interestingly, lone goats achieved an intake rate that was higher than when one competitor was present but similar …

publication date

  • January 1, 2007