What to Feed a Baby Deer: Essential Nutrition Tips

What to Feed a Baby Deer

Feeding a baby deer can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Whether you’ve found an orphaned fawn or have a pet deer, providing the right nutrition is crucial for their growth and development. Here’s a guide on what to feed a baby deer:

Milk Replacer

When it comes to nourishing a baby deer, the first thing you need is a good milk replacer specifically formulated for deer.

Some suitable options include:

  • Esbilac: This is a milk replacer primarily designed for puppies, but can also be used for baby deer.
  • KMR: Also known as Kitten Milk Replacer, it is another option for feeding baby deer.

These milk replacers mimic the nutritional composition of a mother deer’s milk and can be purchased at most pet stores or online.

Feeding Schedule

A baby deer needs to be fed frequently to meet its growing nutritional needs. Ideally, you should feed them every 4-6 hours. Here’s a suggested feeding schedule:

Age Number of Feedings per Day
0-2 weeks 6-8
2-4 weeks 5-6
4-8 weeks 4-5

It’s important to note that these are general guidelines, and each fawn’s feeding schedule may vary slightly.

Preparing the Milk

When preparing the milk replacer for a baby deer, follow these steps:

  1. Warm the milk: Warm the milk replacer to around 100-105°F (37-40°C), ensuring it’s not too hot or cold.
  2. Use a bottle: Pour the warmed milk into a bottle specifically made for feeding small animals.
  3. Bottle-feeding position: Hold the bottle at a slight angle, making sure the fawn can comfortably latch onto the nipple.
  4. Feeding amount: A healthy baby deer typically drinks about 2-4 ounces per feeding.

Weaning Process

As the baby deer grows, you need to gradually introduce solid food into their diet. The weaning process usually starts around 8 weeks of age. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Grass and leaves: Begin by offering small pieces of fresh, pesticide-free grass and leaves.
  • Vegetables: Introduce a variety of vegetables such as carrots, peas, and apples.
  • High-quality hay: Provide access to high-quality hay, which is an essential source of fiber.

While transitioning to solid food, continue bottle-feeding the fawn until they are fully weaned, which typically occurs around 12-14 weeks of age.

Water for Hydration

Alongside milk replacer and solid food, it’s vital to offer clean, fresh water to keep the baby deer hydrated throughout the day. Ensure the water bowl or dish is easily accessible to the fawn.

Remember: Never feed a baby deer cow’s milk, as it can lead to digestive issues and may harm their overall health.

Feeding a baby deer requires time, patience, and a proper understanding of their nutritional requirements. By following these guidelines and seeking advice from a veterinarian experienced with deer care, you can provide the best possible diet for a growing fawn.

Frequently Asked Questions For What To Feed A Baby Deer: Essential Nutrition Tips

What Is The Best Food For A Baby Deer?

The best food for a baby deer is a specialized milk replacement formula that replicates the nutrients found in their mother’s milk.

How Often Should I Feed A Baby Deer?

It is important to feed a baby deer every 4 to 6 hours to ensure they are receiving the necessary nutrients for growth and development.

Can I Feed A Baby Deer Cow’s Milk?

No, cow’s milk is not suitable for baby deer as it does not provide the correct balance of nutrients. It may cause digestive issues and harm their overall health.

What If I Find A Baby Deer Alone Without Its Mother?

If you find a baby deer alone, observe from a distance as the mother may be nearby. Only intervene if the baby deer appears sick, injured, or has been abandoned for an extended period of time.

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