The cubs of all animals invariably make people happy, and deer are no exception.
Clumsy, on long legs, big-eyed creatures that need the guardianship of the elders. Deer childhood is quite fleeting, as they grow quickly on fatty mother’s milk. But this period, as well as the one that preceded it, that is, marriage, deserves special attention.
The mating period of deer
Deer are a large family of more than fifty different species. Naturally, each of them has different breeding features due to the difference in body structure, as well as due to different conditions in the habitats. We will focus only on the most common features inherent to most deer species.
The period when males and females are physically ready to conceive offspring usually begins in early autumn and ends with the first frosts, that is, closer to winter.
Male deer start to show themselves actively. This is expressed in the fact that they make loud sounds like a roar, hitting horns on the trunks of trees. By the way, the last feature has a physical background. The fact is that the horns are important in the life of deer, first of all, in sexual life. It is in the antlers that hormones are produced that are responsible for puberty and gland activity in adulthood. It is known that deer throw horns once a year, and this happens just after the gonna period ends. By the appearance and condition of the antlers, one can judge the health of the sexual sphere of a deer. For example, a deer knocks its horns on the trees not only and not so much to attract the attention of the female, but because it wants to get rid of excess cargo as soon as possible. Horns of deer cover the delicate skin, but by the gonna period, it is already dying, because the horns stop the circulation. When a deer beats the horns of the trees, the skin falls off, but if it begins to hang torn bleeding shreds, it is evidence of obvious violations in the sexual sphere of the animal.
Reindeer males do not take any active part in raising their offspring. Moreover, most of the time they prefer to spend alone and meet with their congeners only in the gonna period. Several females can form families, together they can more easily fight off predator attacks.
Also during the mating period, male deer need antlers to compete with each other for the female, demonstrating their strength.
The readiness of females to mate is manifested in the fact that during the period of flowing on their hooves and anal opening there is a specific strong odor that attracts males. If we talk about the age at which deer breeding is possible, it is approximately the same for males and females – 2.5 years. At the same time, males by 6 years of life become severely depleted and can rarely conceive offspring, but females until old age give birth, however, the older the female, the weaker her offspring.
Deer are not monogamous. Males of most species create “harems” and can fertilize more than 10 females during one breeding season.
The period of pregnancy of deers
Female deer hatch on average 6-9 months. After she understands that she is pregnant, she behaves very carefully: she tries not to run fast, not to climb high in the mountain, in short, in every possible way takes care of herself and the future child. Deer give birth when the weather is warm and there is a lot of fresh vegetation in the forests and fields. Interestingly, the female can delay childbirth if the weather is bad if it rains or keeps the frost. For childbirth, a deer chooses a secluded place, such as bushes, she should have water nearby. A deer gives birth alone. After a deer is born, the first thing your mother does is to lick it carefully.
It is extremely rare, but still, there are cases when two male deer, clutching horns because of the female, can not disperse, and then both poor deer are doomed to starve to death. During the gonna period, males are so aggressive that they are dangerous to humans, among others. Roe deer, for example, even their female can be driven to death or hammered with horns.
Childhood of a deer
So, a calf deer was born, what does it do in the first few days? Immediately after birth, a deer calf, as a rule, can stand on its feet. However, they are still very weak, shaking and mowing, so the mother leaves her child in the safest secluded place, and she is nearby so that in case of an attack by predatory animals, she has time to save the child. Several times a day she feeds her newborn with milk. It should be noted that deer milk is one of the most nutritious and fatty, more like cream, so the deer quickly adds weight and height. A week later, he walks next to his mother, running, keeping up with adults.
The young deer will learn from his mother what plants he can and should eat. In the first few months of his life, he eats both mother’s milk and various plants. During the first year of life, the deer is always near her mother, and when she finally gets stronger, she leaves. This happens, as a rule, when the males swell their first horns, barely visible cones on their forehead.
Interesting facts about deers
The breeding of deer has many interesting features, one of them is that males are born much more females. This is because the life expectancy of males is less than that of females, also, they die more often. Rutting season is very exhausting for the males because they practically eat nothing, and they move a lot. Cold and hungry winter is ahead of them, which only the strongest will survive. Also, because of their horns, people hunt deer males much more often than females. Nature itself has planned everything so that the population of deer would not decrease.
In conclusion, I would like to say a few more words about reindeer fathers. We mentioned that they do not take part in the upbringing of offspring, but it is known that hunters specifically depict the scream of a deer to attract the attention of male deer because it is they who go out on him and get directly at gunpoint. Probably, this behavior means that they still have a parenting feeling.
See also 7 interesting facts about the deer