Handling

Handling

The main aim of efficient deer handling and management is to handle deer without causing undue stress to the animals.

Great stockmanship of deer is the most important aspect of good deer management. A capable stockperson will be able to muster and yard deer without causing stress at any time (within reason). A good understanding of deer's distinctive behaviours and traits when designing, planning or managing a deer farm will also optimise deer movement, and minimise deer stress.

Things to think about when designing a deer farm so as to minimise stress include:

  • Well constructed fences that are designed specifically for deer.
  • Good paddock layout and well positioned races to facilitate movement of deer, and maximise feed utilisation.
  • Well designed sheds and yards that allow movement and handling of deer to occur efficiently and with minimum stress to handler and animals.
  • Restraint systems that control animals safely to facilitate various deer treatments.

A successful handler of deer is one who is confident in their actions and has adequate experience to recognise when deer are becoming too stressed or 'stirred up', and manage stress risk accordingly. Other issues to be aware of when handling deer are related to: age, species, stocking rates and at various stages within a deer farm's management calendar of operations, such as preparing deer for transport.

Information on Staying safe: safe management of deer is available in a convenient DINZ Deer Fact sheet (September 2015). Print off your own copy here >>

Well planned and properly constructed deer fencing has a huge impact on the efficiency of deer handling.

Consideration of the age of the deer you are handling will impact on management and handling techniques.

Herd management encompasses not only the daily management decisions made on farm but also focus's on feeding, health, and forward planning to achieve productivity gains.

Pointers for managing stress at key management times including whilst mustering, in the yards and working in the shed.

Useful tips to ensure smooth mustering of your stock

Property layout and paddock design is important to consider if looking at replacing fences or simply developing your farm further, as both can assist with the management of your deer.

An example of the different types of restraint and weighing systems available for efficient deer handling and management

The shed and yarding system on a deer farm must be designed and constructed to provide a safe and practical work environment for both animals and the operator.

The basics of good deer handling apply to all species of deer,however some breeds do have specific idiosyncrasies that require modifications to the general handling rules.