Outside the scientific world, the effect of social behaviour on production is little
taken into account, but the importance of this relationship has been sufficiently
proven in some animal species. Nevertheless, there are scarce works that emphasise
the importance of behaviour in the production of the goat. The main objective of this
paper is to determine if there is a stable hierarchy of dominance in a flock of goats
fed in pasture, and if this hierarchy influences somehow the diet selected in the
pasture and in its production of milk and meat. The study was carried out in a flock
of goats in semi-extensive grazing management. The interactions observed in the pasture
during the supplementary feeding and during the milking were written down. This allowed
us to determine the dominance rank. The diet was determined in the pasture by the
direct observation method. The production of milk was measured daily. The meat production
consisted on the weight of the kids in their first day of life and after a month.
Among the most prominent results, the following should be indicated: (a) Within the
herd, a clearly established, quite stable and linear hierarchic order exists. (b)
The most aggressive animals are those that occupy the highest positions within the
social hierarchy. (c) Age, large size and horns seem to be the physical factors that
most favor dominance. (d) When more forage becomes available, differences appear in
the diet chosen by dominant and subordinate animals, that is, they become more selective.
In the months of greater shortage, these differences in feeding disappear, and they
become more generalist. (e) The production of animals is affected by dominance. However,
contrary to what might otherwise be thought, it is the middle range of goats that
are the most productive.