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Fallow deer: Yards/Handling

Fallow deer adapt to many different climatic/farming environments. Minimal intervention is required once the basic infrastructure is in place. These hardy animals are fairly easy care, with minimal handling requirements.

These graceful animals can be shy and timid but can become paranoid and panicked at the slightest provocation.

Understand and appreciate the animal’s nature. Having yards that are predictable and simple to navigate will allow the deer to flow more easily through. Putting the deer into smaller and manageable groups makes handling a lot easier.

Deer like to have routine so don’t force or pressure them in places they don’t want to go. Fallow deer like having the structures of light and dark pens. Try to avoid over-crowding as this gets the animals aggravated and stressed. Confidence and firmness are key to handling deer. When in the pens relax and move with the flow of the deer and try to keep to the walls to avoid exposing yourself.

Patience is key when managing deer. Fallow deer are fast movers and can leap over 2m high. The holding/receiving pen should have a minimum height of 2.4m. The entrance into the main working area needs to be roofed and darkened. The walls of the pens should preferably be of solid ply construction with no projections that could injure the deer. Doors need to be flush with the wall not showing gaps when closed. Holding the deer in dark rooms while waiting to be worked on keeps them quiet and calm. 

Light is used to lead them into the controlled tunnel which acts like a small race which holds 2–3 animals with a padded opening on one side. Here you can access the deer head and neck for safe handling for tagging, TB testing, drenching etc. Leading away from the tunnel there are drafting gates to facilitate separating of mobs when necessary. For safe removal of Fallow bucks’ antlers a hydraulic crush/drop floor crush to control their strength and power is best.

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