Zeus the Yearling

This past weekend my husband, son, and I were shooting in the local archery tournament. It was a hot day, but we were pumped either way. We were getting to do something that we loved. The local course has 20 targets. Little did we know, we wouldn’t make it that far.

At target 15, drawn back and ready to nail the bear that was at the end of the lane, suddenly we noticed something wandering toward us. It was a little fawn! It wobbled up to us and began licking our legs. The mother was nowhere in sight. Not knowing if the baby had been abandoned or the mother just scared away from previous shooters, we called the owner of the course. He suggested we take the baby and contact the game warden.

We did as advised. The game warden gave us the go ahead to bottle feedand house the deer for a few weeks (always check with your state and local authorities before taking an animal from nature!).

So for the past 5 days we have been on an adventure. Bottle feeding, potty duty, and interactive play have been a nonstop occurrence. Zeus, as we have come to call him, has gone from drinking 1-2oz per feeding, to chugging and entire bottle, 20 oz, in a matter of days. He is growing and gaining stability on his feet. He is healthy and seems to be generally happy. He gets lots of exercise outside and has become best friends with Cooper, our dog. Chayson, our 4 year old, has taken rein of some of the responsibilities. He can mix a bottle and feed Zeus.

This little guy has definitely been a whirlwind of fun and constant attention. He sleeps well, almost through the night. It seems he has adjusted quite nicely to our schedule. He has picked a perfect place to sleep, next to my fake trees and plants of course! This little guy must now of his natural surroundings.

What goes in must come out. After each feeding, we have been applying baby wipes (or a dam, warm cloth) to his bottom. This simulates the doe licking the bottom. This is to help him relieve himself. Remember, if you ever have to do this, make sure that you get both bowel movements as well as urine. Otherwise, the fawn can become toxic in a short period of time.

Another chore that has been added to our list for this week will be building Zeus a pen. This pen will have adequate room for the fawn to run and play, an area for him to sleep in that is protected from the elements, and will be predator proofed extremely well, as he will be a great target for coyotes. We will be laying mesh wire around the perimeter and tying snow fence onto the existing fence. Another form of shelter, if you are unable to build a pen, would be to keep the fawn locked up in a barn or shed, at least at night. Another consideration when you are building the pen is food supply. Is there a variety of grasses etc. for the fawn to nibble on when it is ready? Otherwise you will be hand picking their diet for some time.

This little guy has definitely brought some excitement into our lives this week. I look forward to watching him grow and overcoming any challenges that may be presented to us. Stay calm and help those babies grow!

Jun 15, 2013 | Category: Blog, Conservation | Comments: none


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