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Animal Breeding and Genetics
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2004;17(4): 569-581.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2004.569    Published online January 1, 2004.
The Influence of Weaning Time on Deer Performance
Y. M. Bao, Y. J. Ru, P. C. Glatz, Z. H. Miao
Current growth in the deer industry is 20% per annum as the demand increases for venison in Europe, including the increased use in Asia of antlers as a natural medicine by humans. The deer industry in Australia has developed rapidly, but farm profitability has fluctuated markedly. The knowledge on deer farming has largely been adopted from New Zealand (NZ) and the United Kingdom (UK) although the environmental conditions in these deer growing countries differ markedly from Australia. The practice used for weaning is one of the key factors influencing the profitability of the industry. However, a wide range in weaning dates are practised by farmers leading to the question of whether deer should be weaned after mating to reduce the stress during weaning or should they be weaned in the pre-rut period to allow does to recover their body condition for the next reproduction cycle. This review examines the effect of weaning time on the performance of does and hinds and the subsequent growth rate of the fawns and calves. Gaps in knowledge of weaning procedures and nutritional management for early weaned deer are identified
Keywords: Fallow Deer; Red Deer; Reproduction; Nutrient Requirements; Growth Rate

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