As it was obviously an orphan and too young to take care of itself, Mike gathered it up and brought it home. It was either that or leave it to die. My husband just couldn't do it... so he was a wee bit late to work...
When the fawn came home, it was too weak to raise its little head. It just lay curled in a blanket - a nest to keep it warm.
It was so tiny! I'd never seen a fawn so small! Of course, they are kept hidden until they are a bit older....
While it slept I did a little research. It amazed me just how many sites there are on "newborn fawn rescue" and "raising a newborn fawn."
Of course, none of them agreed on a feeding schedule. They agreed that he needed goat's milk with colostrum within the first 24 hours (off to HEB and GNC for the milk and colostrum to mix in with it), and that it needed goat's milk after that. The amount differed greatly! Also differing was when to start introducing grasses, etc. So. We wing it. Were actually doing really well - he let's us know when he wants his bottle, and drinks until he's full. We have a HUGE fenced area, and he nips and nibbles and roots around as he pleases. I also planted basil and tomatoes, since I can't keep them in my garden due to the deer.
He also gets along great with the rest of the menagerie - all four cats, the bunny, and the Great Dane. Drake (the dane) thinks he has a puppy now!!
Pooping was a shock. Fawns can't poop on their own for awhile - the literature says six weeks. You have to wipe their little bottoms with a baby wipe, then they poop. If they don't, then they get septic and die. NOT good. In the wild the mom uses her tongue, but Mike & I prefer the baby wipes!!!
Here are some first week pictures of Jet - called so because he has such a streamlined little head with these HUGE wings (um, ears).
Week 2: While Mike and I were on the first real vacation that we'd had in years, a good friend of mine and his family agreed to take over the "Jet-Watch." I had met Greg's daughters and knew that they'd be gentle with our little guy, and there was no question that Greg and his wife would be great.
When we got back we found that Jet had been renamed "Bambi" by the girls, was now eating grass and garden plants (thank God no one minded), was happily frolicking with the family's two small dogs, and had grown 2 inches!
Jet now has an aunt and uncle and two young cousins who all have been granted visiting rights whenever they need a Jet-fix.
Week 3: The cats were quite shocked that Jet was as tall as they were when we brought him back home.
Stalking, hopping, leaping, running & playing all seemed to be the main agenda for Jet while he was outside, as well as experimenting with different greens dirts and bugs, and finding spots to hole up in. His constant playmate when he's out of his fenced area is Drake - our Great Dane! He even tries to nurse, and Drake lets him!
Drake & Jet have been almost constant playmates, both inside the house and out, and Jet seems convinced that Drake is really a deer in a dog suit. It's amazing how gentle Drake is with such a fragile animal, and how much the little fawn trusts him.
Week 4: It's now been decided that Jet isn't truly a deer. He's really half pig and half billygoat. We've also determined that the little guy only has two internal organs - the stomach and the bladder, of which the bladder is the way bigger of the two. He's drinking more water with his goat's milk now, and continues to graze at will outside, but we've also discovered a few other culinary likes and dislikes regarding our little guy. Carrots. He can't get enough of them. He can't bite down yet, so we slice them in long, thin strips that he nibbles down like some people slurp spaghetti. He finds a bite or two of radish quite tasty, and can't seem to get enough apple slices. Forget about the strawberries though, but a green grape or two goes down just fine.Unfortunately he also seems partial to the fringe of my hand-embroidered afghan that I made back when I graduated from college. Fringe benefits?
He still likes to nurse on Drake, who although usually rambunctious and unruly is very patient and gentle with the little fawn. Once in awhile we have to holler "Drake, spit the deer out," but we have to holler that about the cats, as well. He doesn't hurt them - just sticks their heads in his mouth and washes their faces. The cats just bat at him - Jet just stands there like he's wondering about the strange, stinky rinse cycle. Then he goes back to trying to nurse....
Week 5: Hop, skip, run & play. And nurse. And pee. And nurse. And pee... Jet's been racing around the land with Drake in tow, stopping every so often to snatch a nibble of green, a taste of root, or an attempted drink of Dane. Then he'll go leaping off again, either that or he'll skulk through the tall grasses with his ears laid back and his head ducked down. You can almost hear the theme to Mission Impossible playing in the background...
...and then there is the infamous deer-peeing "kangaroo pose." He has the flicking "happy tail," and the trembling "I have to pee" tail. Kangaroo-pose has the trembling "I have to pee" tail. The tail will start to tremble before he starts to pee, and if he's in the house Mike & I go diving for towels or a dirty shirt, which then gets plopped in the washer. Then "happy-tail" comes back.
Did I mention that he likes carrot strips? I lied - he absolutely loves them.
Week 6: Currant events, Nutty happenings, Raisin Cain - the main story of the week it seems. Yup. He's discovered nuts and dried fruits. Jet will practically climb into my lap for a couple of tiny dried currants! We are discouraging the lap-climbing... can you imagine an older, more aggressive, adult buck climbing into your lap demanding dried currants? NOT a good idea!! A few small dried fruit pieces are ok for him, but we keep him mainly on the nuts (he loves pistachios and pumpkin seeds), fresh veggies, fresh greens, his outdoor (and indoor) grazing, and the fawn/deer feed that the wildlife expert that we're working with recommended to us.
He's such a loving, trusting little guy! A couple of the wildlife experts that I've talked with had mentioned that as he gets older he'll be more apt to trust humans than his wilder counterparts, which will put him in more danger from hunters. They suggested the red collar/ ribbon/ bandana to signal that he was hand-raised and not "wild." Hopefully that will give him more of a chance against hunters as he gets older. In the mean time he seems to like his collar - or at least not notice it.
When he's not eating, peeing, sleeping, peeing, playing with the other animals or outside exercising, he seems to be content to give baths. I thought that I was pretty clean but evidently Jet feels that I'm in constant need of bathing.
Week 7: Ok. Who knew that fawns liked hot buttered toast? And why the heck didn't they warn us? One evening Mike had made a piece of Texas toast to have with his dinner. As it's just the two of us we tend to be informal, and were sitting in the living room watching a little TV. Mike had the toast balanced on the edge of his plate, which was balanced on the edge of his knees as he sat in his chair. The next thing I know, I hear Mike hollering something on the order of "Hey, you little thief," as I see this large piece of toasted bread on legs joyfully running across the living room. Jet's jaws were working on a corner of the toast (which was larger than his head) as he continued his hot buttered toast strafing run while Mike and I howled with laughter. Well, betting that the toast was not part of the prescribed diet of rescued fawns we took the piece away, swapped it for a handful of fruits and nuts, and continued to giggle through dinner.
We are also in the process of trying to convince the little guy that no, he really isn't a lap-deer. Sit down on the couch and bring out a handful of dried currants and *POOF!* All of a sudden you have a pint-sized deer in your lap. Cute as it is now, can you imagine when he gets to be full grown?
Spinach. He's discovered spinach. Loves it!!! He won't touch celery, but loves spinach. We have to make three salads at dinner time - one for me, one for Mike, and one for Jet! Loves red grapes, too... And hair... And an occasioal piece of toast... and snow peas!!
He's learning to dance, too. If he can't jump into your lap for currants and nuts he'll start hopping up and down, then just stand on his hind legs. I never knew that they were so strong (or heavy)! He seems like such a happy little guy.
But we like to let him run outside as much as possible. He runs Drake into the ground, the poor Dane comes crawling back to us and the fawn keeps going. He'll run 'till he gets tired or hungry, then he's back at the front door demanding another bottle and seeming to wonder what Drakes' problem was. He likes to run in the late afternoon/early evening when it's starting to get cool,
but during the heat of the day forget it. He's asleep in either his indoor pen ('cause he's still so small) or the closet in the study. If Mike & I are right there then he's snoozing somewhere close to us. He seems to enjoy the companionship - me & Mike, Drake, the cats - he's good with it.
Week 8: Well, the little guy likes mice. No - not those mice, but the mouse that used to plug into my laptop and make my life a little easier. Other than that it's been a pretty mundane week for us here - Jet still is convinced that he's a goat and tries to eat everything in site. Sunday he took his first walk-about - he jetted off around 1pm or so, then finally came home around 8:30pm-ish, tripping up giving us "happy-tail" for all he was worth, and demanding goat's milk. Eventually he'll either not come back or come back every few days, but while he's still so young we're happy (ecstatic) that he chooses to come home...
Week 9 - 11: The little guy's doing GREAT!! I never thought that a fawn could housebreak himself, but Jet seems to have managed the basics with a few extra bean-deposits here and there. Well, ok - several bean deposits, but those are easy. For the most part he's learning that the "Big Towel" in the front area is his, um, bank.
He's also going out on his own, and arriving back home demanding food and milk. A few times he's been out all night, only to be found right outside of the front door in the morning! I guess that at the moment we're his home. He'll always find food and water and milk and love here.
His preferred place to sleep now is right by the bed on my side. I tend to have really bad insomnia, so every time that I get up or look down, there he is - ready with a "happy tail."
He plays hard with Drake, running him into the ground, then jumping over him with this little deer-noise which I know has to mean "get up off of your lazy Great Dane butt and chase me some more, you big hairy fool." Then when both are worn out Jet tries to nurse from Drake, and Drake just stands there and lets him....
Instead of munching on carrot strips or slices the little guy tried the whole carrot one day. Score: carrot - 1, fawn - 0. Entertaining, though!
So... moving on to a safer, more rewarding snack... he decided to take his frustration out on a head of lettuce.
Of course, discovering that people came in all different sizes was new and exciting for Jet. Katie was very well behaved and treated him as if he was the most fragile animal that she'd ever seen. She even sat down and fed him carrot slices which he ate quite hapily. I'm convinced that he's really a goat in a deer-suit! He eats, poops, drinks, eats, pees, eats, sleeps, eats, grows, eats, and seems to love his "family."
Did I mention that he eats? Everything?
Week 12-14: Such a funny little moose, our Jet! His routine is now up early in the morning, two bottles of milk and one or two of water, a carrot or two, and then shove him out the front door. He has a big bowl of deer pellets out front that I add a handful of fruit and nuts to, and a bowl of water. While Mike & I are at work he frolics outside - he's even taken up with a small heard of deer!!! As soon as we get home, though he comes bounding up, giving us a happy-tail for all he's worth. Then he gets watered, carroted, berried, milked, milk-boned, and whatever else that's good for deer that comes to hand. Sometimes he'll stay out all night, but most of the time he prefers to sleep at home with the rest of the menagerie.
Weeks 15 - 18: Well, our little guy is growing into a fine, feisty teenager now. We've begun to ween him off of the bottle - slowly, but he still gets his treats. Every morning he gets a bottle of goat's milk, a handful of dried fruit and nuts, and thrown out into the wide, wide world. Most of the time when we get home he's waiting for us, waiving his little tail, and frisking across the lawn towards us. Then it's time for a bottle of water, carrots and apples, dried fruit and nuts, and a nap... Repeat at daybreak. He still insists on sleeping most nights next to the bed on my side, leaning in as close to "mom" as he can get.... or sleeping next to Drake.
Several times, though, we've come home and he hasn't shown up - we think that he's been playing with the little herd that he's taken up with. We miss him, but are glad at the same time - we want him to be a deer - not a pet. OK, ok, we'd love to have him as a pet but he's a wild animal and should grow up that way.
Speaking of wild animals, I think that our Jet is also part pig - whenever we open the 'fridge door to get something he runs up and starts trying to help himself to the grapes. We have to shoo him away!!! Then he dances back and forth trying to look pathetic and starved until we haul out the carrots....
And now, as you can see, our little guy's starting to lose his spots. I think that he's leaving them as a trail so he an find his way home....
Weeks 19-21: Jet's been playing with a pretty good-sized herd during the day, but still insists on coming home in the evenings. He's no dummy - he's a stomach-driven fawn! With the dry weather he knows exactly where to find fresh water and plump, juicy fruits and veggies, as well as tasty nuts and dried berries (and the occasional piece of buttered biscuit!)
His little horn-nubs are starting to slowly grow in, and Mike and I are betting that they either ace or itch or both... Jet will come up to us, lower his little head, and present his nubs with this air that seems to say "please rub my bumps!!!" If we delay even a bit he wanders over to the wine-rack and starts to rub his head up against it. BAD idea!!! So... the humans got trained verrrrry quickly!!
Another new trick - Jet likes to wash our little black cats' face! The little cat will lie down on the bed, which puts him at the puuuurrrrfect Jet-level, and Jet will run up and start washing his little eyes, cleaning his ears, washing his face, and all I hear is this incredibly loud purring!!!
November 22: Jet's been doing remarkably well. He had a small bout of diarrhea (deer-rhea?) a couple of weeks ago which was NOT fun for any of us, but we all got through it. As none of the other animas were ill and Jet hat been out all night the night before we figured that he probably drank some stagnant water somewhere and picked up a bug that way.
We've discovered that as well as his usual fare of almost any fruit or veggie that he can get his little teeth into (and hot cheese biscuits) he likes sliced garlic. Only appropriate since my husband is half Italian.
Jet's been growing up nicely - still thinks that water from a bottle tastes better than the same water from a bowl (even though he'll drink from the bowl if the bottle has gone on strike like it usually does during the working hours). He's becoming a little more independent as well - he stays out overnight more, for some reason mainly on really cold nights. He still likes to come in, play with Drake, wash the cats, and curl up next to me or my husband when we're sitting down working or watching TV or on the computer.
We try to keep our friends from meeting him when they come over - we'd like him to maintain a healthy wariness of humans for his own protection, and still want him to be as as normal a deer as possible - not a domestic pet, as much as we love him and want to keep him. It's just not best for him - he can come and go as he pleases, but the key phrase there is "go as he pleases."
He seems to have integrated himself into a little herd - a HUGE buck, a doe, and a fawn about his size. They get a little closer to the house each week, and when he sees us he'll flick his tail, touch noses, then come running to us. The buck used to run away on sight - now he stands and watches Jet run up to us and get carrots or love. He's a beautiful, majestic beast! That will be our Jet some day!
March 5, 09: Our little Jet is growing up! He spends most of his time outside running free with about ten of his closest friends, still including that one nice-looking eight-point buck. Jet continues to like to be fed his carrots, apples, Milkbones, nuts... he remains a walking stomach on stilts, but he also still likes his hugs, pats, scritches and rubs as well.
We're glad that he's assimilating into a herd and learning to be a deer, but we're also glad that they all stick close to the house and away from the street. We put corn out (alot of corn out) three times a day for the new family, and they seem to appreciate it and hang around. The buck seems to look after Jet, and doesn't seem as afraid of me as he used to be when Jet first brought him home.
This morning Jet actually came in the house for the first time in a couple of months. My husband said that he came running up as he was leaving for work, so he came back inside and cut up an apple for him. Jet followed him inside, so he filled a bowl with water and another with some protein pellet/deer corn mix. Jet fell-to so as I was still asleep Mike left for work.
Jet wound up cozying up to Drake and staying the day, up until early evening. Why he chose to stay so long or even come inside we still have no idea, but are thankful for the visit. We wound up having to leave the front door open and sit with Jet as he decided whether or not he really wanted to leave mom, dad and big brother. What a dear (deer), silly moose!!
Uncle Buck seems to become less & less afraid of us as time goes by, and looks after Jet as well. He chases off Psycho-Doe when she starts acting up and trying to beat up on the others in the herd.