In young deer the first antler cycle is bodyweight depedent. When they are well grown they start gonadal activity earlier and low testosterone initiates pedicle development.
Research points to solid food seemingly used for body maintenance whereas milk energy and protein seems to be used mainly for growth. Lactation is dependent on nutritional level and quality of the environment. Better food more milk.Obviously food and quality restriction has greater impact on kids than on their dams. Dam maintenance, kid maintenance plus growth. A good start in life carries over well into subadult status. Potential for good antler growth is reached on a dietary level of 14-16 % Although this is difficult to prove statistically due to restricted number of deer during the experiments. Cost limitation.
The head of a muntjac with developing pedicles. There is no thinning of the hair as yet.
As the pedicle grows a type of velvet develops with the thinning of the skin and hair from which the first antlers gowth. This first antler growth is inherent without photoperiod input ( triggering factor explanation given in Antlers Part 1 Post ).
Roe deer which are long day breeders are interesting and unique in their male kids can develop into so called button bucks ( small antlers ) in the calendar year of their birth. These buttons are cast in Jan/Feb and these kids go into that year's normal cycle.( Older bucks put up antlers first )
Button buck in skin
Note there is no coronet. This develops with the first subadult antler cycle. Coronet is there to seal the skin antler boundary and is cast each season