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Abandoned young

Abandoned young

Most species of deer give birth between May and July, although the muntjac can breed all year round.

Every spring people come across young deer alone in the undergrowth, apparently abandoned by their mother. However, the temptation to 'rescue' the animal should be resisted.

Just because the mother is nowhere to be seen does not mean that she has abandoned her offspring. She is rarely far away and probably the only thing stopping her returning to her young is the presence of people.

Photo of a roe kid by Billy Atkinson

It is normal for a mother to leave a young deer hidden because it cannot keep up with her when she is feeding. As a young deer has little or no scent it is well-protected from predators if it lies still and the mother will return every two to three hours to feed it both day and night.

If you find a fawn, kid or calf:

  • Move away immediately.
  • Do not be tempted to touch the deer or pick it up – your scent may stop the mother returning to feed her baby.
  • If you have a dog, keep it on a lead and under full control.

Hand-rearing young deer is not usually successful. Those that have been successfully hand-reared often do not thrive after re-release into the wild.

  pdf Download Abandoned young poster / leaflet (3.14 MB)

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