The Journal of Agricultural Science


Growth, milk intake and behaviour of artificially reared sambar deer (Cervus unicolor)and red deer(Cervus elaphus) fawns

G. Semiadia1a2, T. N. Barrya2 p1 and P. D. Muira1

a1 AgResearch, Flock House Agricultural Centre, Bulls, New Zealand

a2 Department of Animal Science, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand


Sambar deer (n = 8) and red deer (n = 8) fawns were successfully artificially reared to 70 days of age, using ewe milk replacer, at Flock House Agricultural Centre, New Zealand, during 1991. Sambar deer fawns had a lower overall milk consumption than red deer fawns (312 v. 359 g DM/day; P < 0·05), and showed an earlier peak in milk consumption, a faster rate of decline and earlier self weaning. Birth weight as a proportion of dam liveweight was lower for sambar than for red deer, but liveweight gains to weaning (347 v. 330 g/day) and 70 day weaning weights (300 v. 30·4 kg) were similar. The age at which deer commenced a range of activities, including eating forage and ruminating, was similar for both species, except that jumping activities commenced 5 days later in sambar than in red deer (P < 0·01). Following milk feeding, sambar fawns were less active than red deer fawns. It was concluded that sambar deer fawns can be successfully artificially reared using ewe milk replacer, but that extra precautions are needed to avoid scouring and abomasal bloat, which were more prevalent in sambar than in red deer fawns.

(Received October 27 1992)


p1 To whom correspondence should be addressed.