It's the drought season in NZ again. Hot summer, dry soil, yellowing grass. Deer are relying on supplemental feeding a lot. They get bailiage, various branches, maize and scraps here and there. Bread, of course.
Since we've gotten the dog we haven't been letting them on the lawn by the house. Frankly, it's cleaner that way, one or 2 deer is sustainable but 40 of them tend to leave a 'legacy' everywhere, if you know what I mean.
But when dog is away with my partner I can let a couple of the tamest deer in. Naturally, the two eldest girls get a 'senior citizen' pass: Babushka and Big Mama. It's harder for them to compete with 'youngsters' and maintain healthy weight. And they're still having fawns and feeding. So all the effort goes into helping them first of all.
They even started hanging out with each other more, noticing good things happen when they're together. Rather, Babushka was the one coming in more readily by herself. She doesn't panic when the gate behind her is closed (some deer feel trapped). But then other deer saw her getting all the goodies to herself like that and decided that was worth the risk.
So they come in, 2 or 3 of them, and find some fresh grass by the side of the plants we grow around the house. Being watered more often, that soil still sustains green grass. But if you're not watching, sneaky devils will clean up the whole place of vegetation. All the while looking angelic:
BTW, that is hydrangea in the background. True, it's not a coveted plant, so it can be considered deer-resistant. Tomatoes, avocados, citrus trees and grape vines will be eaten first. Hydrangeas' turn will come if there'll be nothing else available.
They always get a few plums from the tree each, but that's not enough, especially for Big Mama who keeps storming the tree 10 times if she has to, coming back to it each time after being chased away.
A cucumber was being reckless laying within her reach - pulled it out with a root and ran away)
The old Babushka seems much more understanding, even the disapproving tone of voice she seems to catch and stop doing what she's doing. Elder of the farm.
Babushka knows her name and comes when called. Big Mama is still learning hers.
Deer never forget the place where they've found food. They come back for more. And if they're fed around same time of the day - they show up like clockwork (earlier usually, don't want to miss the event). So Babushka, having figured out this is a great way to eat more and in peace (without competition, often rude), checks in every day and starts heading to the gate if she sees me, to be let in.
P.S. Our doggo sleeps inside. The dog house on the picture is from his puppy times when he couldn't be trusted to sleep inside. Kept just in case. Ants are making a use of it, mostly.
What he does have outside is a bath tub. Lots of fun:
Last modified 2023-02-05 at 15:42
Published 30 January 2022
Are deer nocturnal or crepuscular? What time of day are deer most active and when do they sleep? Where do deer bed and how they take naps?