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Thread: Deer farming... Taming red hinds

  1. #1

    Deer farming... Taming red hinds

    Hi all I have recently got some hinds and a stag and wondering if anyone else has had experience taming them makes it easy if the hinds are tame and come to food etc didn't know what category to put this into thanks all.

  2. #2
    Hi Joe,

    Taming the hinds is ok and in fact can be very beneficial, especially if you want to handle them frequently (which you should really as it will just make your farming life a lot easier).
    The stags on the other hand - in my opinion don't try and tame. By all means get them through the handling system on a regular basis as this will get them used to it. It is also quite good practice to put the deer through the system without doing anything to them ie, not subjecting them to any form of bad experience or trauma, as they'll soon learn not to associate the system with bad things and be quite obliging.

    By taming the stags, you will be showing them that they have little to fear from humans which sounds ok but come the rut, it could be a different story, as they do and WILL become aggressive and may well see you as a threat to their hinds. If they have little or no fear of you they will forget that you are the nice person who provides food instead they will obey their hormonal instincts and could attack, seemingly without reason. Not a place you need to be.

    Hope this answers your question.


  3. #3
    Agree with Paul. They say the most dangerous stag is a tame one and I would have to agree. Had one that I had hand reared (and therefore that had no fear of me at all) attack me a couple of years back. I don't stop them coming close but I am very watchful.

  4. #4

    Deer dont need to be tame to come for food... Just hungry ! If you do decide to try and humanise your deer, be very careful of becoming complacent, the biggest kicking I have received from a deer was from my oldest tamest red hind. Simply because I did not give her the same caution and respect I was giving my wilder hinds, I took my eye off her because she was tame.... OUCH

    Stags... Dont go there. As Paul has already said a stag who has limited fear of humans is to be classified as very dangerous during the rut. This can be complicated further if your tame hinds come over to you during the rut, and he will see you as competition.

    I have never know any tame male deer not have a go at some point during their lives. Sika being the worst !!



  5. #5
    Thanks for the help guys I don't want to tame the stag in anyway just trying to get the hinds to come when I call them been going with a provin bag and putting a little in a trod then walking away so they can see I'm not a threat and just trying that way so there not scared and run off when they see me it's only been a week mind thanks agian lads

  6. #6
    Good luck with the animals Joe, you'll get huge amounts of satisfaction watching them settle in and grow into fine animals. The one thing you'll probably find is that they can be such interesting animals to sit and watch that you'll lose track of time and before you know, the day is gone!
    All the best

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by scooby565 View Post
    Good luck with the animals Joe, you'll get huge amounts of satisfaction watching them settle in and grow into fine animals. The one thing you'll probably find is that they can be such interesting animals to sit and watch that you'll lose track of time and before you know, the day is gone!
    All the best
    You are so right. I spend hours with them. Never tire of it. It is brilliant to be accepted by them.

  8. #8
    A couple of weeks ago our team were handling some farmed Red deer, and all was going well - as usual - until one Red deer hind became very aggressive.

    The upshot of the event was battered and bruised handlers, and a Vet with a bleeding head!!! ... One of the aggressive hinds was hand reared!!

    A little while ago, I discussed the issue of Red deer stags, and the inherent dangers of handling them without proper safety precautions.
    I would like to offer a few words of warning to those who handle Red deer hinds.

    Best regards,


    Mike Allison
    Managing Director - Jelen Deer Services

    Hell hath no fury like an aggressive Red deer hind.
    (By Mike Allison - Copyright 2013)

    On deer farms, and in some parks, there will always come a time when handlers need to get close to the animals for a variety of reasons.
    Handling any large animal always carries some risk, and the level of risk will depend on several factors including:

    1. The species and sex of the animal
    2. The type of operation to be carried out
    3. The type of handling facilities available
    4. Experience & manner of the handlers
    5. Temperament of the animals

    This article is largely to advise those involved in deer handling, or the would-be handler, of the type of experiences they may face. More importantly, it is to raise awareness of the dangers of handling Red deer hinds, and ways in which handlers can minimise or eliminate much of the risk.

    Aggressive hinds should always be culled

    Species and Sex
    As we have covered the handling of Red deer stags, there is little point in repeating much of it here. However, apart from the sex of the species (stags V hinds) there are a couple of fundamental differences in the manner in which we should handle each.

    Firstly, it's worth bearing in mind that MOST people handling stags will already be on their guard - never taking an eye off what the stag is doing whilst the handler is exposed, and carrying out the required task using every available means to prevent exposure to injury - or worse!

    In contrast, many handlers are much more complacent when handling Red hinds, and that can be a recipe for disaster. It is not unreasonable to suggest that handlers can be equally at risk - sometimes more so whilst handling Red hinds.

    Type of Operation
    The task to be carried out will have a great influence on the behaviour of the animal in response to what we do. For example, monthly weighing - a non-invasive, non-stressful operation - should result in animals being relatively relaxed about being in the handling system.

    However, in the case of ear tagging, wormer injections etc., animals can respond violently to an event that it knows is going to hurt.

    The way in which the animal is likely to respond in the future is greatly influenced by the actions of the handler during each handling session.

    The rules are simple: Hurt the animal, cause the animal discomfort and pain, or frighten the animal, then you will suffer the consequences in the future. The affected animal will remember the event that caused discomfort, and that will cause it to fear.

    Remember that a frightened animal is effectively a dangerous animal.
    All animal handlers have both a moral and legal responsibility to avoid causing unnecessary suffering to any animal.

    Type of Handling Facilities
    There are almost as many different variations of handling system as there are deer farms.

    Types and build quality vary greatly from those that are constructed from the finest materials and designed for every eventuality in handling terms, to those that are very much in the 'Heath Robinson' bracket.

    Build quality aside, few handling systems work well unless they are designed by operators who understand Red deer.

    Knowledge of the way they will behave in an enclosed system scenario is the single most important factor that will lead to a safe, humane and efficient system.

    In reality many systems that lack visually pleasing features, can in fact work like a dream - because they were designed well.

    Good understanding of what a Red deer is likely to do in a given scenario will form the basis of good handling system design.

    Many successful deer farmers use subdued or red lighting in systems, and this certainly helps to keep animals calm in what is otherwise a stressful event. Whilst subdued lighting has its advantages, this is only viable when integrated with sound physical design features.

    Handler Experience & Manner
    Deer handlers can make a huge difference in animal response - both positively and negatively - to handling events.

    Some of these influences are obvious, such as being quiet, calm, unhurried and using comforting voice that goes some way towards projecting a positive aura, and relaxing the animals.

    Some are not so obvious, but can nevertheless have a profound effect on animal behaviour. A with humans, animals pick up very quickly on negative energies.
    If the handler is agitated, angry or upset, then this will manifest itself in the manner in which the handler works.

    Equally if the handler is rushing to get the job done, then the level of care during handling will be somewhat deficient. Any sort of aggression towards the animals should warrant suspension of the handling session.

    Therefore it goes without saying that all handling operations need to be planned in advance so that handlers are in the correct frame of mind to effect compassionate and positive handling techniques.

    Temperament of the Animals
    I have purposely left this subject to last, in favour of getting handlers to address all the previous issues first.

    In actual fact, the temperament of the animal is one of the most important influencing factors that will determine the level of risk handlers are exposed to.

    Animal temperament should be assessed on an on-going basis, and measures implemented to ensure that those identified as being bad-tempered are dealt with in the appropriate way.

    Temperament is a highly heritable genetic trait, and habitually bad-tempered hinds will invariably give birth to bad-tempered calves.

    As far as commercial deer farming is concerned, then we should adopt one very simple but effective rule:


    Such animals always cause other animals in the group to become agitated. They always present a significant danger to handlers. The nature of Red deer hind attacks are such that head injuries are a real possibility for handlers.

    Both statistically and in reality, deer handlers are at greater risk of injury from aggressive Red deer hinds than they are from stags. So why is that?

    The reasons for this are:

    a) Hind attacks normally come from above, whilst they are standing on their hind legs. It must be remembered that a good English hind when on its hind legs is around 8 feet tall. The attack is generally in the form of repeated and persistent thrashing from the front hooves. The edges of hooves are very sharp and can easily break human skin, and the victim may suffer severe facial and/or head injuries. Such force is used that - with a direct hit - a human skull can be easily fractured.

    b) As with stags, there are clear warning signs of an imminent attack, although the signs in a hind are much more subtle, and may well be missed by an inattentive, or relatively inexperienced handler.

    c) Aggressive hinds will regularly attack from behind, whereas stags will generally conform to a relatively rigid social convention. They normally only attack head-on, and head-down, although a stag in velvet may use his front feet.

    d) During an attack, a Red hind will often continue the attack even though the handler is backing off -NEVER forget that a hind in a persistent attack is intending to kill you. In contrast, a stag rarely continues an attack if the handler is moving away from them.

    Whilst a shield is a must in this situation, it is relatively easy for the hind to knock the shield down with one front hoof and bring the second front hoof down on the handler's head or face, so the shield needs to be designed in such a way that you can maintain control of it, even during a sustained attack.

    Warning Signs of Imminent Attack from a Red Deer Hind:

    1. The hind will stand facing you with its hind quarters in a corner, and its sub-orbital scent glands will be open.
    2. Very often the hind will stand with its neck bolt upright, and with its nose slightly raised looking down its nose at you.
    3. It may be grinding its teeth and sometimes the tongue protruding from the side of the mouth.
    4. The animal may stamp one of its front feet, or stamp both front feet simultaneously.
    5. The animal will rear up on its hind legs and begin a violent attack with its front feet.
    6. An aggressive hind is more likely to launch an un-provoked attack when its calf is at foot.

    Safety Precautions when handling an aggressive Red deer hind.

    ALWAYS carry out a risk assessment before handling any deer.

    NEVER handle any mature deer alone, even if you believe them to be calm.

    ALWAYS use protective head gear and shields when handling a Red hind.

    NEVER ignore any of the above warning signs.

    NEVER allow an inexperienced person to handle mature Red deer unsupervised, and/or un-protected. Inexperienced handlers can gain experience by handling calves, or carefully selected yearling hinds.

    NEVER turn you back on a hind that you suspect to be aggressive.

    ALWAYS record the tag number of hinds that demonstrate aggressive tendencies. That way you can prepare for them in subsequent handling sessions.

    If an attack occurs, ALWAYS keep your head and face protected with a shield and call for help immediately.

    AGGRESSIVE HINDS shouldALWAYS be culled once aggressive tendencies have been identified.

    Last edited by Jelendeer; 25-11-2013 at 21:31.

  9. #9
    SD Regular
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    North yorkshire/sometimes down south and occasionally further north
    The above.....

    you wont learn THAT on a bds course!!

    sorry couldn't resist!!

    sound advice from Mike.... who knows what he's talking about.


  10. #10
    Sound advice from Mike as always; advice I've passed to all of our team at work along with his stag info! Having been attacked by a hind in the past who had been hand reared I'm always wary, even more than I was before! The worst position you could get into in my opinion is the deer expecting food from you after regular feeding and you not having any to give to them, they'd be very unimpressed which is never good!

    How long have you had the hinds? If you've got them recently then they will still be getting used to their surroundings so will naturally be jumpy and far from tame? I wasn't there at the time but heard when the deer were first bought into the park where I work they took several years to settle down, get used to their surroundings and become tame.


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