How to house your fawn or elk calf

You must secure a permit to raise wildlife such as deer and elk on your property in most states. For those who have gone through the permitting process and are committed to raising healthy, productive wildlife, proper housing is extremely important for your fawn or calf.

Comfort is Key
Housing is especially important for fawns and calves because newborns will stay bedded for most of their first four to five weeks of life. They will need a clean, comfortable area of their own to develop into healthy adults. It’s best to use clean straw as bedding. Sawdust is not recommended because it can be easily inhaled by the newborn.

To keep your fawn or calf the most comfortable, use a heat lamp to regulate temperature. When they are about 2-4 weeks old, gradually raise the temperature in the stall to match the outdoor ambient temperature before releasing the newborn outdoors with the rest of the herd. If the weather is warm enough to keep the newborn fawn or calf outdoors, provide a small lean-to or hutch that will give the newborn protection from any aggressive bucks in the herd or other predators.

Check for Ventilation
If you are housing your fawn or calf indoors, ensure your barn has adequate ventilation throughout. Make sure there aren’t any direct drafts that would make the newborn uncomfortable. Proper ventilation will also reduce the moisture, animal odors and gasses that can cause respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia.

To check if your barn has enough ventilation, check for aromas of ammonia or if there is condensation on the walls or ceiling. The presence of these may be a sign that the barn does not have enough ventilation for your newborn. If you happen to spot any of these signs, install windows, fans and inlets around the ceiling perimeter to allow fresh, cold air from the outside to mix with warm air before coming into contact with the fawn or calf.

With a suitable environment and sound nutrition, your deer or elk will have a strong start toward a healthy life. Read more about fawn and elk nutrition and be sure to follow My Farm Journey on Facebook and Instagram for additional insights.

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