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Photgraph by Peter HurmanA Year on a Deer Farm

The Red Deer Hinds calve outside in June and July. The majority calve on their own without assistance, just one or two may need some help. Peter keeps a watch from a distance for any problems, such as any young calves getting out through the wire. Grass is good and plentiful at that time of year so the hinds milk well and the calves grow quickly.

Meanwhile, the stags have re-grown their antlers and replenished their body weights. A spendid sight, stags with antlers coated in velvet. The velvet is rubbed off in August as the antler is now hard. A few weeks later the antlers are removed from the stags to prevent damage to each other, fences, hinds and people. The stags are then put back with the hinds and calves ready for the rut in October. A very vocal time of the year and the most exciting time in the Red Deer's calendar.

 

Peter and AprilAt this time supplementary feeding is introduced in the form of cut fresh grass, hay or silage. Concentrates and corn are not fed apart from the odd occasion when the deer need to be encouraged to move.

The stags remain with the hinds until early December when the majority of the deer are housed for the winter. At this time the main handling of the deer happens. The calves are separated and weaned. All of the deer are wormed and go onto a diet of hay and silage.

The calves from the previous year have grown quickly on their season of grass. Silage is also introduced to maintain their body weight as some of the stags are ready for marketing. After a vet inspection the deer are dispatched in the fields and taken to a local abattoir so no live transport is involved. The deer are hung before being prepared for sale, the venison being vacuum packed, weighed and priced.

© 2012 Peter and Cathy Hurman
Washers Farm, Fitzhead, Taunton, Somerset, TA4 3LA
Telephone 01823 400257        Email info@somersetvenison.co.uk