Good stockmanship of deer is the most important aspect of good deer management. A capable stockperson will be able to muster and yard deer without causing stress at any time (within reason). A good understanding of deer's distinctive behaviours and traits when designing, planning or managing a deer farm will also optimise deer movement, and minimise deer stress.
Things to think about when designing a deer farm so as to minimise stress include:
- Well constructed fences that are designed specifically for deer.
- Good paddock layout and well positioned races to facilitate movement of deer, and maximise feed utilisation.
- Well designed sheds and yards that allow movement and handling of deer to occur efficiently and with minimum stress to handler and animals.
- Restraint systems that control animals safely to facilitate various deer treatments.
A successful handler of deer is one who is confident in their actions and has adequate experience to recognise when deer are becoming too stressed or 'stirred up', and manage stress risk accordingly. Other issues to be aware of when handling deer are related to: age, species, stocking rates and at various stages within a deer farm's management calendar of operations, such as preparing deer for transport.
The following topics are available in convenient DINZ Deer Fact sheets.