What Activities To Do With A 12 Week Old Baby Raising Deer – How to Bottle Feed a Whitetail Deer Fawn

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Raising Deer – How to Bottle Feed a Whitetail Deer Fawn

My husband and I got our first Whitetail fawn when she was day time. A few weeks before bringing her home we applied through the Department of Natural Resources for our wildlife breeder license. You need to get this, and the breeder numbers of the buck the fawn came from. We allowed this doe to nurse from her mother for 24 hours to get some colostrum before bringing her home.

We put her in a dog carrier for the transport home. The fawns are very timid and docile and are easy to handle the first few days. She was kept in the house for her first 3 weeks and then moved to a dog pen outside. Whitetail deer can jump straight up from a very young age. We recommend at least a 4ft fence up to 12 weeks of age and then a 9-10ft fence from then on.

White-tailed deer are fed as a substitute for goat’s milk. This can be found at many feed or farm supply stores. For feeding, we used a regular bottle with a rubber nipple. A long red rubber teat used for bottling goats and lambs can also be purchased. The replacement bag will tell you how to mix the formula. We would mix up a big batch and store it in a container in the fridge.

We started our fawn on a 3 hour feeding schedule. It is very important that these fawns are fed at least 6 times a day for the first few weeks. Start with an ounce of formula. Our fawn just laid down for the first week and didn’t get up and move around much. For feeding we put her on a towel and fed her while she was lying down. We had a lot of problems with her feeding. She didn’t take to the nipple well at all and we ended up using a syringe to force feed her for a few days. Once she got the hang of it, she ate like a pro. It is advisable to add 1-2 tablespoons of plain yogurt to each bottle to prevent diarrhea. The diarrhea can be fatal to a fawn and you can lose them very quickly. If the diarrhea still persists, it may be necessary to talk to a wildlife or exotic vet about medication.

The reason most people lose fawns is because they don’t know that they should wipe the hindquarters of the fawn after each feeding to stimulate urination and defecation. It is mandatory that this is done. Fawns cannot use their bodily functions on their own until about 4-6 weeks of age. They can easily become infected and die if the wiping is not done. We put our fawn in a Rubbermaid tub with newspapers lining the bottom. We used baby wipes to wipe her and did so after every feed.

At about 12 weeks of age you can wean the fawn off the bottle. We started offering deer pellets and water in a bowl from the 3rd week. She started eating solids at about 8 weeks of age. We also feed clover hay, corn and soybeans to supplement her diet. Our bottle feeding schedule is as follows:

Day 1-3 2 oz every 3 hours (strong feeding as needed)

Day 4-7 4 oz 6 times a day

Day 8-14 6 oz 6 times a day

Day 15-21 8 oz 5 times a day

Day 22-28 8 oz 5 times a day

Day 29-35 9 oz 4 times a day

Day 36-42 10 oz 3 times a day

Day 43-49 10 oz 3 times a day

Day 50-56 12 oz 2 times a day

Day 57-63 12 oz 2 times a day

Day 64-84 16 oz once daily

Remember that every deer is different and adjustments may need to be made. The main problem with bottle feeding is overfeeding the fawns. All deer farmers do things differently, we have found this system to be what works for us.

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