What’s happening down on the deer farm?

a herd of deer standing on top of a lush green field.

Summer is a wonderfully busy time on a deer farm. Here’s what happens…

From August onwards stags grow new velvet, and every 2 or 3 days from October to December we spend the day in the deer shed removing it. There is lots of sorting involved as each stag has his velvet ready at a different time and it’s important to get the timing right for maximum health benefits in the deer velvet.

Meanwhile there is lots of silage to be made throughout the summer so we can store the excess spring pasture, and feed it out in the winter when growth is slow. It’s always a bit of a dance with the weather! We’re dependent on plenty of rain to grow the good stuff, then need a nice sunny patch for drying and baling ready for winter. As soon as its stacked away, we are keen on rain to get that cut grass growing again! 

a tractor is driving through a field of grass making silage
malcolm turning great grass into silage bales for use in winter.

New babies start arriving at the end of November, and who doesn’t love seeing new babies! Hinds prefer a hands off approach, the less we disturb them the better so we view from a distance, and pasture must be planned out well ahead so they don’t need moving too far or too often. As a result I have minimal pics to share but have got that as a priority in my diary for next summer! I did capture the amazing sounds though, have a listen on our Facebook or Instagram.

In January it’s time to deal with the sire stags who get to grow their antlers all the way to hard antler, so we can assess their breeding potential. These also have to be removed as long hard antlers are a lethal weapon and stags can easily critically wound each other with them.

wrapped hay bales in a paddock behind a tree in the foreground
canes deer velvet hinds and fawns
spot the fawns – they are usually well hidden by their mums.

In recent weeks we have been tagging the new fawns and collecting their DNA samples so we can match them up with their parents. And next we plan all the mating mobs to ensure the next generation is the best it can be.  This involves lots of analysis and study of all the data so we get it right. A good rainy day job! We are excited this year to have bred our very best 2 year old stag ever, so he will be courting the very best of the hinds.

canes sire stag
The best young stag we’ve ever had so he’s promoted to the sire mob!

So with all of that behind us, it’s time for a few days days off to go and explore a new piece of NZ.….

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