Jul 13th 2020 Back to latest news
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
How to hand feed deer written by Emma, Summer 2020
“Not a theme park but a wonderful family day out at a lovely Farm!”W Beth
"Good place for the family lots to see and do. Clean and staff helpful. Could spend a day there with the kids and have a great time. Would recommend to everyone."Regular visitor
"An absolutely lovely farm, with the most perfect helpful, knowledgeable staff. We had an amazing day."Regular visitor
Allergy Awareness "We come and visit you every week and I was so pleased to see the "no food" notice up in the soft play areas. My son is anaphylaxis to dairy and peanuts. Thank you for raising awareness and helping my son to not be at risk!"Allergy Awareness
"The imagination and creativity with the play areas is just perfect. Today we fed the lambs and it was such a special moment, I've always wanted to do it and loved it!"Local Visitor
"The passes are fantastic value for money and whenever we come to Farmer Palmer's my children never want to leave. Staff are always very friendly and helpful."Annual Pass Holder
"Even when it's pouring down, FP is a great place to come. Plenty to do under shelter and who doesn't love to put their wellies on and splash in muddy puddles! And for the mums and dads, the cake is amazing :)"Regular visitor
"A rare treat, a full day out and change!"Value for money!
"We keep coming back with our grandchildren"Grandparent’s view
"We are big fans!! My little boy wakes up most mornings asking if he can go to Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park!!"Winning testimonial
"It was amazing. From organisation to the staff, who were fantastic, we were very pleased"Team Farmer Palmer Fan
"Great family day out. Highly recommended!"Holiday visitor to Dorset
"I can't recommend this wonderful place enough. It's an amazing little piece of paradise in Dorset."Lissie Marshall