Scientific name: Dama dama
Fallow Deer are native to Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, where they inhabit oak and pine woodlands and open prairies and grasslands.
Fallow Deer have also been introduced to many other parts of the world, including North America and Australia, where they are both an ornamental deer, and a hunting species.
Appearance / health:
The Fallow Deer displays a variety of coat colors, with the four main colors described as: "common", "menil", "melanistic" and "white". A black line runs along the back to the tail, and there are often white spots on the back during summer. The Fallow Deer's coat becomes darker and thicker in winter, and the white spots become more faint.
Only bucks have antlers, and they are broad and shovel-shaped.
Deer are susceptible to ailments associated with parasites like lice, ticks, and roundworms. They become vulnerable to predators in the winter when they are not able to move about efficiently through the snow.
Behavior / temperament:
Fallow Deer are grazing animals; their preferred habitat is mixed woodland and open grassland. During the rut bucks will spread out and females move between them, at this time of year fallow deer are relatively ungrouped compared to the rest of the year when they try to stay together in groups of up to 150.
Housing / diet:
White-tailed deer are herbivorous, foraging on grasses, leaves, twigs, legumes, buds, and fruits. They prefer to feed on green plants during the spring and summer, and corn and nuts during the winter. They feed early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Like cattle and goats, deer are ruminants with four stomachs.
deer farming, hunting, color, Venison Production
royal hunting parks
Fallow Deer for Venison Production
Once the preserve of kings and princes (most British land areas known as 'forests' where royal hunting parks where fallow deer where kept) and maintained in a semi-domesticated state for hunting. They are often kept in herds on parkland or in semi-wooded areas.
However, since the 1980s deer farming in Britain has become more popular and the fallow deer is an excellent species for farming due to it's semi-domesticated nature. Indeed, young fallow deer raised by hand are incredibly tame. However, as they become adult they grow much more cautious and nervous around humans.
Deer can either be kept in a semi-natural state, allowed to roam freely in parks or semi-wooded heathland. Alternatively, they can also be kept in a more intensive system, similar to cattle or sheep. These animals can really jump though, so you will need much higher fences than for other ruminants. For intensive farming the antlers of the males are typically lopped off for safety reasons.
Calving usually occurs in late spring and early summer (May to July). Typically the hinds are allowed to calve outside. They will typically hide the calves in undergrowth where their coats merge into the shade. During the first few days after birth you can usually catch the calves readily when their mothers go to forage. The calves are tagged and weighed.
During this period yearling stock are wormed and turned onto improved pastures. In September the calves are weaned, sexed and vaccinated. They are then housed to keep as stores over winter. Hinds are wormed and sorted into rutting groups. Typically a single stag is introduced to each group at this time to catch any hinds that go into season early.
In October the first stag is removed from each group and a second stag (known as the 'sweeper' stag is introduced). This stag remains with the hinds until December. In December the stags are removed from the hinds and are penned together and fed to allow them to regain their condition.
If overwintered indoors, hinds and stags are brought into their winter housing at this time. The animals are released outdoors in March. In April the hinds are vaccinated and re-grouped before being released for calving in May.
The majority of stag calves are sold off as stores for venison. Hind calves can be reared to replenish the herd or are sold off as venison stores.
Young hand-reared fallow deer make excellent pets (like lambs or goats). However, as they invariably become wilder and more skittish around humans as they grow older, they cannot really be kept as pets long-term.
The fallow deer is by far one of the easiest species of deer to keep under agricultural management. As, in the wild they tend to live in small group of up to ten does and a buck they are also suitable for smallholders, particularly if you have a region of woodland as part of your land.
Venison is still a premium product, so if you have suitable land this is an excellent method of diversification..
From DLlE Sep 15 2012 9:44AM
As a child my step-father was a logger so I ended up with all kinds of animals. One time it was a baby deer! She was found after the trees had been cut down and her mother was no where to be found. I took on the job of caring for her. Some people do have success in caring for deer but I did not. I am no expert but I do not think caring for a deer is easy work at all. They are so sweet though. I would make a neighing sound trying to communicate with the fawn and it would do it back. If I laid down on the floor the it would copy me. The fawn even went to sleep with me. However, the next day it started having what appeared to be a seizure. I was heart broken. I would advise anyone that comes across a fawn to contact a rehabilitator in their area..
From Dinah Marie McGee Jul 31 2013 10:42AM