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Jul 13th 2020 Back to latest news

How to hand feed deer
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Have you ever wanted to hand feed deer? Do you know the native deer species in the UK? Would you like to find out more about the deer at Farmer Palmer’s? This is the blog for you!

UK Deer Species

In the UK there are only two truly native/indigenous deer species. These are Red Deer and Roe Deer. However, there are four other species living wild in Britain. These are Fallow Deer, Muntjac Deer, Chinese Water Deer and Sika Deer.

When it comes to naming Mummy, Daddy and Baby Deer it gets a little more confusing.

Species                                   Male       Female       Offspring
Red deer                                    Stag           Hind              Calf
Sika deer                                   Stag            Hind              Calf
Roe deer                                    Buck          Doe                Kid
Muntjac deer                            Buck          Doe                Fawn/Kid
Fallow deer                               Buck          Doe                Fawn
Chinese water deer                  Buck          Doe                 Fawn

Deer are well suited to British habitats and they adapt well to environmental change. The presence in the British countryside is very valuable to biodiversity and people love to see them.

If you’d like to find out more about British Deer take a look at The British Deer Society Website.

 

Deer at Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park, Dorset

The deer living at Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park in Dorset are Red Deer.

The small herd has been living at the farm park for over 7 years. The Deer Park consists of a very large field and sheltered woodland area.

As you can see from the video, Farmer Palmer’s deer are very friendly and have become to used to human visitors coming to see them.

How to hand feed deer

Similar to hand feeding a horse or pony, the most important thing to remember when hand feeding deer is to keep your hands flat. If you curl up your fingers around the food the deer may get confused and try to nibble your fingers! You can also put your hands together in a bowl shape to hold the food out for the deer.

 

children hand feeding red deer
Child hand feeding deer at Farmer Palmer’s

 

The second most important thing to remember when you hand feed deer is to ALWAYS wash your hands afterwards.

British deer are Herbivorous which means they eat plants. They like to eat grass and the leaves and shoots of trees and other woodland plants. Sometimes they also eat fruit and berries and will sometimes eat tree bark if needed.

At Farmer Palmer’s we supplement their diet with a hard feed and hay, to help maintain their health. This also means we can offer a hand-feeding deer experience to our visitors. The hard feed is made with specialist deer nuts and we also feed them Fodder Beet in the Winter months as an extra energy source.

The wonderful opportunity to hand feed deer only happens during certain times of the year (so it’s best to check if the experience is running when you visit, extra charge applies per person). Our tractor-trailer driver will take you on a journey through the fields and up to the deer park. You’re then invited to step off the trailer and into a fenced off feeding area. The team will then hand you some hard feed (don’t forget our top tips from earlier!). The deer will then approach you when they are ready and you can hold out the food to feed them. It can sometimes feel a bit funny and tickle when they are eating from your hands!

It’s an amazing experience and we’re sure you will remember it for years to come.

Have you hand fed the deer at Farmer Palmer’s?

We’d love to see your photos and videos. You can email them to us, tag us in them on Facebook or Instagram, or enter them in our Annual Photo Competitions.

How to hand feed deer written by Emma, Summer 2020