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I see tons of articles on proper land management for bucks, but what about the rest of the herd? For instance, what should a bre

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  • I see tons of articles on proper land management for bucks, but what about the rest of the herd? For instance, what should a bre

    I see tons of articles on proper land management for bucks, but what about the rest of the herd? For instance, what should a bred doe's diet consist of to give a fawn a head-start? Or, what nutrients should a doe ingest to produce the highest quality milk? I ask these questions because we all hear about how important gentics is, but wouldn't giving an unborn fawn the best possible nutrients be the first step in raising healthy bucks, and does? Andy Ball, US Air Force

  • #2
    That's a great question and your point about the fact we never hear about nutritional management for the female side of the equation in the deer herd.Although proper management of resources should be of benefit to both bucks and does and healthy well nourished does should be prepared to carry to term a healthy fawn.Deer undergo metabolic changes as the autumn turns into the winter season and with most areas an abundant autumn diet of natural and agricultural produce should meet the requirements heading into winter for both sexes.The winter season with reduced metabolic needs for both sexes can be challenged particularly in northern regions by length and severity of the winter months.Some management programs supplement winter food availability through feeding stations in deer yards and many offerings will more than make up for any shortfall in nutritional needs.An alfalfa plant sticking through the snow will still offer on it's leaves an available protein of 7-9 %.Aside from the feeding situations and requirements of the herd as a hole there are mineral supplements available for ruminants that are specifically designed for the gestational curve and these could be introduced to balance what shortfalls exist.Really a super question--and it makes sense to give some consideration to this as another part of quality deer management programs.

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    • #3
      Thank you decoy hunter. But what specific nutrients/vitamins/minerals are best for:
      1. Unborn fawns
      2. Pregnant does
      3. Nursing fawns
      4. Milk production (maybe similar to supplements for dairy cows?)

      Any sites/books out there on these subjects?

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      • #4
        A "dry cow" mineral available at your local feed store--milk production is more or less in the spring -summer -early fall-there is enough forages available to promote adequate milk production--but a lactating dairy mineral would make up for any shortfall-probably the weakest part of the gestational cycle would be the winter months and where supplemental feeding can increase the weight at birth

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