Game Warden

Show us your deer...

51 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

All the rutting amongst the roe that is just starting at this time of year is of course to produce kids; it is one of those curious things about our deer that roe give birth to kids, fallow produce fawns and red deer produce calves, having said that fawn is a perfectly acceptable name for the young of most deer species. I guess the use of kid for young roe is another reflection of their slight resemblance to goats. Roe does very commonly give birth to twins or even sometimes triplets, the kids are normally born around the end of May or early June. As with many deer and antelope species the young when first born have very little scent, so that when their mothers need to go off and feed and leave their kids hidden in long grass or other vegetation it is difficult for predators to find them. Roe kids are also covered in white spots to help camouflage them, in woodland undergrowth, if a doe has twins she will leave them in different spots so that if a predator does get lucky it should only find one and not both of them. The does will leave their kids for quite long periods before returning to them and this behaviour goes on for two months, this is much longer than in other UK deer species, this keeps them safe from the predators we do still have, which are basically only red foxes amongst our wildlife but of course domestic dogs are obviously a danger. However this strategy exposes them to another risk, which is well meaning but ignorant people who stumble across them while out on a country walk, think that their mothers have completely abandoned them and so pick them up and deliver them to their nearest wildlife rescue centre, totally unaware that the mother was nearby and will return later to find her kid gone. They are also at risk of suffering a far worse fate, some kids if they’re left in agricultural fields may be killed by agricultural machinery, as they will sit tight rather than get up and run and if they do get up, may not be able to move fast enough to get out of the way.

 

Roe kids in a maize crop, these kids are between 1.5 - 2 months old and are beginning to lose their white spots 

 

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Roe kids are weaned at 4 months and stay with their mothers for around a year until a couple of weeks prior to giving birth to her next kids and then she will drive them away. Unlike any other deer species, to see to it that their kids are born at the right time roe deer employ diapause or delayed implantation so while the rut is taking place now at the end of July and early August, the embryos won’t be implanted until late December early January, the kids are then born usually around the end of May the beginning of June.

Edited by inyathi
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