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Dominant buck in trouble. Gets into lockdown.

» Deer stories » Deer behavior » Dominant buck in trouble. Gets into lockdown.

It was a turbulent morning on Wondeerful Farm. The 'king' has been deposed following his losing his 'ammunition'.

Before:

buck with coronets

After:

buck shed antlers

Since we cut bucks' antlers, to prevent them injuring each other in fights, only coronets are left - the base part of the antler.

coronets part of deer antlers

Here you can better observe what fallow deer coronets look like:

shed coronets closeup

These are the ones our buck lost today.

They're very hard to the touch, and heavy, like a stone.

Bucks antlers are naturally shed every year.

Still, it seems to be catching everyone by surprise and a little chaos ensues on the farm when the affected buck is a dominant one, the yesterdays's 'king of the herd'.

buck chased

There runs the 'toppled dictator', his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth, being chased by the mob of the three 'high ranking' bucks, his competitors. He was a lover and a fighter. Loved by does, challenged by bucks. Only to lose his former glory all in one fateful drop - of coronets, on the ground.

He's trying to find a place to hide, but everywhere follow his former 'subordinates', looking for 'revenge'.

'You bossed me around yesterday, how would you like to try it now, big boy?'

Short footage of buck running away

Buck running away from angry competitors, having lost hist antlers (coronets) and unable to fight. We haven't been able to capture the actual chase well because we were thinking how to resolve the conflict at the time.

Couldn't help feeling sorry for the bullied big guy, he was only being a 'proper' dominant male, and each new one will act pretty much exactly as he was. Comes with the job, so to say.

So after a bit of running the big buck was cornered behing a shed, and while he stood there a younger buck was stalking him - standing in his way, to prevent him getting out. Not sure what that was about - waiting for the rest of the mob to join or trying to find courage to atack him on his own, but it lasted for a few minutes before we decided to isolate the vulnerable guy.

Deer don't normally like being locked in a closed paddock by themselves, especially if it's small, they can panic and hurt or even kill  themselves, but knowing this animal we made a call it'd be fine for him, because he has twice before broken into a small paddock and was just eating grass there quite happily in solitude, and when noticing he couldn't get out the way he came in (forgets how to do it from the other side) he was not panicking, but kept checking the gates now and again and carrying on eating.

So he got a decent sized paddock all to himself today, with plenty of carrots, water and shade.

separated bucks

Sort of like a king suite in a 5-star hotel.)) Or a lockdown. Whichever way you prefer to look at it. 

isolated buck facing off competitor

Looks like he's got 'a room with a bath' :)

That's water reservoir.

After realizing his 'mates' are on the other side and can no longer bother him, he finally relaxed and sat down to rest. Been walking around eating, rubbing his head on tree branches, on himself. He can't lick his head, but what he does is lick his side, then run his head against that.

His wounds should heal pretty quickly and he'll start growing new antlers straight away. He'll soon be reunited with the herd. Actually, he was due to be sent back to his original farm anyway.

Why do some bucks shed antlers earlier than others?

Age is one of such factors. Our big guy is turning 4 years old, while the challenging bucks are only turning 2. Older bucks lose their antlers a few weeks sooner, that's how evolution 'decided' was best. 

Update, next day

Our guest seems to be enjoying his stay in 'quarantine facility'. Fresh treats delivery does not dissapoint. He'll be recommending it to friends when he checks out, no doubt.

Head looks better, compared to yesterday.

buck no antlersHe's seen his 'tribe' through the fence several times, sniffed a few, but kept coming back to his favorite, secluded bedding spot. He blends so well with the background there we nearly thought he'd escaped.

buck bedded in bamboo

We're ready to let him out but he's not displaying signs of looking for a way out, like he did when he would break into a paddock and then couldn't leave. He's not hanging out by the gates, instead, spending most of the time far away from the exits. And the rivalling bucks keep checking on him now and again, they are looking for ways to get in.

It's not uncommon for bucks to distance themselves from the herd for a while. When they know they're vulnerable, their antlers are still small or soft, they'll try to keep away until they know they're better equipped to take on competition.

Last modified 2021-10-17 at 13:12


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