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Some White-tailed Deer Fawns Still Nursing

White-tailed Deer are ruminants.  The process of rumination (gathering a lot of food at once and then digesting it later by chewing one’s cud) is fully developed by the age of about two months, or roughly by the end of July.  Fawns can be completely weaned and survive without milk at this time, but does often don’t wean them until 3 to 4 months. It’s not unheard of to see a fawn born in May or June still nursing, or attempting to, in October. It stands to reason that it’s hard to give up this valuable source of nutrition, for deer milk is richer in fat, protein and energy than cow’s milk. (Photo taken by Erin Donahue on September 2nd.)

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6 responses

  1. Wow, was that photo taken within the past week? It looks awfully young. Born late?

    September 11, 2019 at 7:34 am

  2. Alice

    So cute! Do Does shed this time of year or is her sparser hair from being pregnant? The nutritional values of animals’ milk is interesting, as far as I know a Blue Whale infant gains 200 lbs a day.

    September 11, 2019 at 8:50 am

    • She is shedding her reddish summer coat and growing in her brown winter coat. That’s an amazing fact about young blue whales!

      September 12, 2019 at 9:18 am

  3. Lyn McQuade

    Mary…a question not about fawns but my attempt to grow milkweed for monarchs. The plants came from an old VT cow pasture 2 yrs. ago; they were OK last year, but this year they developed a coating of honeydew-like scum, then black spots (I researched mold?) then all leaves turned leathery and black. There are only 3 pods on the remaining plants. So, should I cut them all back & destroy the whole plot? Should I try to harvest the pods now and sow them for next year? So sad & disappointing. I had 15-20 monarchs while the milkweeds were healthy. A website recommended a peroxide solution, but I’d like more info.

    Your postings are a daily pleasure! Any help from you would be so appreciated. Thank you.

    September 11, 2019 at 3:31 pm

  4. Bill On The Hill

    Thanks Mary… I had a small but fat doe eating dropped apples this morning at the top of the dway. I took a closer look with the binoculars, it had a very healthy look to it’s coat & couldn’t help but wonder if it was pregnant, my reasoning says probably not as I believe we had a very healthy mast crop in the woods this year so critters are eating well & this is the 1st visit to the apple tree I have observed this season by any deer… I still have (1) female hummer hanging around as the males flew the coop a couple weeks back now…
    Bill… :~)

    September 12, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    • Just fattening up for winter, Bill! Rut isn’t for a couple of months!

      September 15, 2019 at 3:35 pm

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