What Do 5 Day Old Domestic Baby Bunnies Look Like Raising Deer – How to Bottle Feed a Whitetail Deer Fawn

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Raising Deer – How to Bottle Feed a Whitetail Deer Fawn

My husband and I got our first whitetail fawn when she was one day old. A few weeks before we brought her home, we applied for our wildlife license through the Department of Natural Resources. You need to get this and the breeder numbers of the stag and doe the fawn comes from. We let this fawn nurse from her mother for 24 hours to get some colostrum before we brought her home.

We placed her in a dog crate for the transport home. Fawns are very timid and docile and easy to handle for the first few days. She was kept in the house for the first 3 weeks and then moved to the kennel outside. White-tailed deer can jump straight up from a very young age. We recommend at least a 4 foot fence by 12 weeks of age and then a 9-10 foot fence thereafter.

White-tailed deer are fed a goat’s milk substitute. This can be found at many feed or farm stores. For feeding, we used an ordinary baby bottle with a rubber nipple. A long red rubber nipple can also be purchased which is used to feed goats and lambs. The substitute bag will tell you how to mix the formula. Mix a large batch and store in a container in the refrigerator.

We started with a fawn on a 3-hour feed. It is very important that these fawns are fed at least 6 times a day in the first few weeks. Start with an ounce of formula. Our fawn just laid around the first week and didn’t get up or move much. For feeding, we put her on a towel and fed her lying down. We had many problems feeding her. She didn’t take well to the nipple at all and we ended up force-feeding her with a syringe for several days. After she figured it out, she ate like a pro. It is advisable to add 1-2 tablespoons of plain yogurt to each bottle to prevent diarrhea. Diarrhea can be fatal for a fawn and you can lose it very quickly. If diarrhea persists, it may be necessary to speak with a wildlife or exotics veterinarian about medication.

The reason most people lose their fawns is because they don’t know that they need to wipe their back after every feed to stimulate urination and defecation. This is mandatory. Fawns up to 4-6 weeks of age cannot independently use their bodily functions. If wiping is not done, they can easily become septic and die. We placed our fawns in a Rubbermaid tub with newspaper in the bottom. We used baby wipes to wipe her after each feeding.

At around 12 weeks of age, you can wean the fawn from the bottle. From the 3rd week we started offering the deer pellets and water in a bowl. She started eating solids at about 8 weeks of age. We also feed clover hay, corn and soybeans to round out her diet. Our bottle feeding schedule is as follows:

Day 1-3 2 ounces every 3 hours (force feeding as needed)

Day 4-7 4 ozs 6 times a day

Day 8-14 6 ounces 6 times a day

Day 15-21 8 ounces 5 times a day

Day 22-28 8 ounces 5 times a day

Day 29-35 9 ounces 4 times a day

Day 36-42 10 ounces 3 times daily

Day 43-49 10 ounces 3 times a day

Day 50-56 12 oz 2 times a day

Day 57-63 12 oz 2 times daily

Day 64-84 16 ounces once daily

Keep in mind that every deer is different and adjustments may need to be made. The main problem with bottle feeding is overfeeding the fawns. All deer farmers do things differently, we have found this system to be what works for us.

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