General deer health reminders

General deer health reminders

Summer Feed ManagementJohne’s prevention
Maintaining feed quality during summer is particularly important for deer.Prepare last of winter crops for sowing into pasture,Drill swedes and turnips for winter (South),Hay making - preferably away from fawning hinds,Prevent pasture running to seed and losing quality by topping, shortening rotations or taking some paddocks out of rotation for hay or resowing.Monitor porina month flight dates and numbersYoung deer probably become infected with Johne’s disease in the first months of their lives either before birth or after birth. Infection may occur from suckling infected hinds or ingesting fecal contaminated feed.Separating hinds that are likely to be infected from those that are not prior to calving may prevent transmission to the new fawns.
Learn more about nutritionLearn more about Johne’s disease
Summer feed prioritiesAutumn sowing plan
Lactating hinds require good quality feed at least 1200 post grazing residuals. Suckling fawns will transition better at weaning if consuming good quality feed prior to weaning with dams. Consider high quality supplements to hinds with fawns at foot late summer.Sire stags require good nutrition to ensure top condition prior to the roar. Yearling hinds require quality feed to ensure they reach puberty by March. Velvet stags can be held at maintenance after velveting provided they are in good condition.Consult farm advisor or feed consultant for appropriate sowing plan. Consider winter active, annual ryegrass for rapid weaner growth, early brassica crops for conserved feed or resowing into permenant pastures after cropping. Pay particular attention to proper preparation, weed control of fertiliser needs.
Learn more about feed intake requirementsLearn more about pasture sowing options
Parasite management planWeaning Plan
Lactating hinds require good quality feed at least 1200 post grazing residuals. Suckling fawns will transition better at weaning if consuming good quality feed prior to weaning with dams. Consider high quality supplements to hinds with fawns at foot late summer.Stags require good nutrition to ensure top condition prior to the roar. Options to decrease weaning stress:Plan weaning date (from mid Feb) and minimum weights (30+kg red deer),Weaners onto familiar paddock, hinds far away,Feed grain for 2 weeks prior and 2 weeks post weaning,Leave in 3-4 nanny hinds (dry at weaning),Feed good grass/forage prior to weaning to develop weaners’ rumen.Bring hinds and fawns through yards prior to weaning,Review weaning success and plans for next year
Learn more about parasitesLearn more about weaning
Facial eczema spore countsEarly weaning
Most veterinary practices perform regular spore counts at monitor sites. These can be used as a guide but individual paddocks can vary considerably. You can have counts done on suspect paddocks.Risk factors for facial eczema include warmth, high humidity, warm rain, accumulation of dead matter at the base of the sward and forcing stock to eat down into the base of the sward. Facial eczema can be prevented by ensuring good soil activity and breakdown of dead litter at the base of the sward, cultivation, avoiding risk pastures, maintaining high post-grazing residuals, providing supplementary feed such as hay or baleage. If risk remains high, zinc dosing with intrarumenal boluses (off label). Water application may not be effective. Red and Wapiti deer are relatively resistant to FE but Fallow deer are quite susceptible.Pre-rut weaning results in better condition of hinds, earlier conception dates for hinds and more efficient utilisation of pasture. Early weaned fawns are smaller at weaning and lighter going into winter and may require extra supplemental feed at weaning. However, they may be better adapted to a grass diet by the time winter comes.Weaning date should be determined based on farm goals, resources and preferences. 
Learn more about facial eczemaLearn more about weaning
Autumn feed prioritiesWinter feed budget
Lactating hinds require good quality feed at least 1500kg DM/ha post grazing residuals. Suckling fawns will transition better at weaning if consuming good quality feed prior to weaning. Consider high quality supplements to hinds with fawns at foot late summer.Stags require good nutrition to ensure top condition prior to the roar. After weaning, hinds on maintenance plus to ensure weight gain and conception (post grazing residuals 1200kgDM/ha) weaners on best quality feed. Make a simple feed budget to determine expected requirements duConsider shutting up paddocks to build a feed wedge coming into winter.ring winter, feed on hand and whether extra feed needs to be bought or stock sold or grazed off.Determine risks of long cold winter with poor growth versus costs of buying extra feed.Avoid having to sell stock in poor condition or at market lows.
Learn more about feed intake requirementsLearn more about winter feed requirements
Late weaningWinter feed priorities
In most cases it is more economic and efficient to wean prior to the rut (late Feb/early March). In some situations later weaning may be more appropriate for management or health reasons. For example late fawning deer, hinds fed high levels of supplements, high risk of yersiniosis or weaners being sold at weaning to finishers.Priority to weaners during winter to maintain growth at 100g/day. Hinds on maintenance after mating, E.g. crops.Stags should be tempted with high quality feed and supplements to help recover condition after the rut and prevent stress related diseases such as MCF.In cold weather, microbial activity in the rumen produces heat so roughage should be provided in the form of stored pasture or hay.
Learn more about weaningLearn more about winter feed requirements
Soil and herbage testsMid winter weights
Soil and herbage tests should be done at the same time each year and can provide valuable information to help determine soil management and fertiliser requirements. Soil tests can be useful to determine limiting factors for pasture growth and herbage tests are useful for determine limiting factors for animal nutrition. Consult a soil advisor to determine the most appropriate tests to maximise return on investment. Comprehensive soil + herbage tests are likely to be of more use than simple soil tests.Useful as a benchmark for monitoring weight gain and loss throughout the year.  
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Tb testingPlan spring sowing/Summer feed budget
All deer farms must be registered with the AHB and tested at an interval dependent on the area the farm is located in, history on the farm and farm stock movement practices. Very few deer herds are infected with Tb but there are still large areas of land with infected wildlife. Vigilance is required in areas where 3-yearly testing is done and few animals are going to the works. Your veterinarian or contracted Tb testing officer can provide information on testing requirements.Consult your seed/nutrition rep for options and preparation for spring sowing. Consider late maturing winter crops such as kale or beet for hinds or weaners. Pay attention to adequate high quality feed required during late summer for lactating hinds, weaners and stags. Options such as chicory, plantain, red clover, lucerne and late heading grasses should be considered depending on the location of the farm and soil conditions. 
Learn more about bovine tuberculosisLearn more about feed sources
Spring feed priorities and managementLow pasture selenium
Early spring growth should be allocated to weaners to maximise spring growth prior to slaughter. Then to stags for velvet growth and weight gain coming out of winter lean. Hinds generally restricted to prevent overfatness but can be allowed to put on weight if winter has been hard. Aim for BCS of 3.5 at fawning. Prevent spring flush from getting too long and losing quality by topping, cultivating or grazing with extra stock or shutting up some areas for silage.Consider supplementation of pregnant hinds if selenium deficiency has been a problem on the farm.
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Check calving paddocksSpring sowing
Failure of bonding between the hind and her fawn can be a great area of loss on some farms.Calving paddock check should include:Shelter, contour, scrub, rushes... hiding places for hinds and fawns, shelter from wind and sun.Fence security. Hinds can dig under fencelines and fawns can squeeze through large gauge netting.Waterways that fawns can drown in,Disturbance from roads or neighbouring farms,Ticks - run sentinel animals through paddock or towel for ticks.Carry out plan, adjusted for any unpredicted changes in the season. Do not take shortcuts in preparation and planning.
Learn more about calving environmentsLearn more about feed sources