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Fawn Health

by Whitetail Quest
Date Posted: 01-01-2010

You can find info on this page to help you raise healthy Fawns.  Caution ! The medicines and cures on this page are NOT an exact science.  They are cures that have worked for other deer farmers and compiled on this single page for you to use.  What works for some may not work for others.  Every animal is special and needs its own special care. Deer farmers know more about Deer than most vets.


Most botanical dewormers can be also found as homeopathic preparations, which are free of side effects and do not require a fasting or laxative period. Common botanical dewormers include garlic in pills or powders, fresh tinctures such as wormwood or Artemisia spp., wild ginger or snakeroot, goosefoot, conifers, mustard, squash or pumpkin seeds, carrot and fennel seeds, and pyrethrum, a plant extract from chrysanthemum.


A Primer for the Care of Newborns and Orphans edited by Barbara Ramey Fox, Becky Lawton, NADeFA National Office, Lanham, MD and Thelma J. Miller, Birchwood Whitetail Deer Farm, Union City, PA
Plan Ahead


Want to be Mama. 

Wait to take the fawn away from its mom late in the evening NO sooner then 12 hours after birth (They must have their Moms first Colostrum to survive) and dont try to feed them until the next morning.  They are very hungry by then and seem to accept the bottle better.  Sit down on the floor cross legged and fold the baby up in your lap. Try to use your left hand with your arm over its
back to pry the mouth open by placing your thumb and finger in in its mouth on each side of its lower jaw and hold the bottle with the other. This way when they throw their head back it will be harder to lose the nipple from their mouth. Be gentle about opening their mouth as you may injure them.
This force-feeding process usually doesnt last long once you gain their trust and they realize you are mama.  You must stimulate them to defecate and urinate until they are about 3 weeks old every time you feed them. You can do the stimulation thing with a damp warm sponge.
Generally they will go for you while they are eating and you stimulating them at the same time. If they dont go, dont try to force them every time.

Generally a fawn will start feeding on greens at about 2 weeks of age. One way to get a bottle baby started eating solid food is, you can take green clover or alfalfa and let them sniff and lick it until you can put it in their mouth and let them nibble, also you can use a pellet crushed and push it in the back corner of their mouth.  Or you can use a small piece of Wheat bread. The yeast in it helps set up the digestive system.
What works for one doesnt always work for the next.  Make sure you ALWAYS have fresh water available from day one and keep fresh greens available.

Deer are normally browsers and eat leaves from Dogwood, Poplar, Oak, Maple, Elm, Willow, Apple trees and many more. Alfalfa and Clovers are top choice of legumes.


You must offer black dirt in a dish (fresh every 3 days) from day one until released. There is good bacteria in the dirt that the fawns need to get their rumen started.  Get the black dirt from your yard where the grass grows, you can have some sod roots in it. ( Do not use Potting soil ! )  This is for them to set up their digestive system to digest the plant life in your area.  Every location has a different bacteria specific with that location.

Any time you give antibiotics it is a good practice to give them some yogurt or some type of probotic in a paste form.

Rectal temperatures. should be about 101-102F.

Usually they will get sick on Friday night and you cant get to the Vet, you will need the following supplies on hand:
Milk replacer
Bottles with spare nipples
Gelling type Electrolyte
Tylan 200 or LS 50 lincomycin-spectinomycin.
7% tincture of iodine
Pumpkin pie mix
Needles & Syringes


Colostrum Supplements
Every newborn needs Colostrum to survive and it is really only absorbed for the first 12 hours of life.
Colostrum has a large percent of immune globulins and is very high in Vitamin A.
A colostrum supplement is okay to feed and can be fed anytime for as long as you want, but its immune benefits are only absorbed for the first 12 hours.  Some people will say 24 hours but the first 6-12 are the most important.  Best absorption is within the first 6 hours of life.

Multi-species supplement provides needed proteins, vitamins and minerals to calves, foals, lamb and goat kids, llama and alpaca crias, fawn and elk calves, baby pigs and puppies. Each lb contains 30,000 IU vitamin A, 5,000 IU vitamin D3, 150 IU vitamin E, vitamin B12, ascorbic acid, 22% crude protein and 20% crude fat.


Milk replacers that work for Whitetail Fawns and may be available at your local feed store.
Caution should be used mixing replacers manufactured for Goats and Sheep as most Deer farmers have found that feeding the factory recommended mixture causes scours in Whitetail Fawns Land O Lakes Lamb milk replacer, Mix 1/2 the required amount of powder. (double the water amount) Land O Lakes Goat milk Replacer, Mix 1/2 the required amount of powder. (double the water amount) Merrick Lamb or Goat milk Replacer, Mix 1/2 the required amount of powder. (double the water amount) And new to the market and may be the best is Zoologic Doe Milk Replacer.  Goat milk, Straight goat milk is the best, they dont poop as much on goat milk.

If you find it necessary to change milk replacers, Do not switch milk completely at one time but gently over period of days.  You should mix the new with the old in increasingly larger proportions and take several days or even a week to complete the change over to the new milk replacer.  Changing all at once can cause the fawn to stop eating, or if it does eat, it can cause scours.


There are several fairly good drugs that counter e coli and most types of scours.  Theres Ampicillin,neomycin sulfate, oxytetracycline, biosol and lincomycin with spectino-mycin(LS 50).
Most have had great luck using the LS 50.

There are a lot of gelling electrolytes out there that firm their stool.

Worming Fawns
It is recommended to wait until the fawns are 3 months old to de-worm if warranted. (IE: fecal sample reveals infestation.)Use the same deworming product as you use on the adult deer.

For clostridia problems or if you feel that you need to worm your fawns you can use Covexin 8 on 3 day old fawns.  Give 1 1/2 to 2 cc subcutaneously. If the fawns are bigger give 2 cc and a booster shot it in 3 to 4 weeks.

You should use caution as one farmer reported he had a fawn react to the vaccine and went into anaphylactic shock.  You should give shot of Covexin 8 to any Fawn that has been orphaned or rejected by the Doe, as soon as possible. And follow up with a Colostrum Supplement.


Valbazen is a good and easy to administer oral wormer for Fawns


Coccidiosis treatment for Fawns
If you took a fecal sample to your Vet and he said your fawn had Coccidiosis, Use Corid, 20% powdered on fawns, mix 3 1/2 oz powdered Corid to 1 quart water.
note; 1 oz Corid = 3 1/2 table spoons.
Give each fawn 6-7 cc of this solution each day for 7-12 days.

Fawn Coccidiosis can also be treated with 3cc of liquid Corrid put in with the formula or water bottle. Feed once each day for 5 days

If you have a problem with them not liking the taste you can add apple flavored Jell-O powder to the formula or you can add apple cider or juice


Safe-Guard paste Apple-cinnamon flavored oral dewormer is safe and convenient, it is a microorganism that helps to digest food.


Navel infections.
Tincture of Iodine  is a good disinfectant with an injection of a penicillin - streptomycin mixture often works fairly well. Give for 3 days.


Fawns with scours and extremely loose stools
You need to stop scours fast.  It is always important to keep the bottle, nipple, etc. as sterile as possible.
A remedy that has worked for many farmers feeding fawns is as follows.  Day one, Mix 1/2 milk replacer with 1/2 gelling type Electrolyte 1/2cc Tylan 200, 1cc of7% Tincture of Iodinein the first feeding and drop back to 1/2cc after that in every bottle.  It has also been found that what works best with the iodine is 1cc of Tylosin with the first treatment of iodine and 1/2cc morning and evening after that. Do both for 24hrs after symptoms stop.  Day two, Mix milk replacer, 2 teaspoons of 100% pumpkin, 1 teaspoon of yogurt, 1/2 cc Tylan 200 and 1/2 cc 7% tincture of iodine in every bottle.  Day three, mix milk replacer, 2 teaspoons of 100% pumpkin, 1 teaspoon of yogurt, in every bottle.  Give this until 24 hrs after the symptoms are gone.  Also put 3/4 cc Ivomec pour on on their back.  Spray vinegar on their butts after every feeding to stop the sucking if you have fawns in together. Worm all the 100% pumpkin filling found at your local grocery store; usually in the baking section.  Dont mix the electrolyte gelling agent until right before your feeding, it will get thick in about 2-5 minutes.  These gelling electrolytes keep their stool thickened and they get a chance to retain some water as well as food values from the milk.  It is good to give plain Dannons yogurt, give about 1 teaspoon of yogurt (mixed in the milk replacer) per feeding to help maintain proper bacteria.

Another method is to put flour in a pan and scorch it on the stove. Skip a feeding or two and then mix the scorched flour in their bottle. It may put a stop to the scours.


Many times the blindness can be reversed with a good antibiotic therapy. UsePenicillin G at 1.5cc sub-Q dosage rates for 5 consecutive days on fawns with bacterial infections that settle in their eyes (generally detectable by a blue opaque pigment) with great success. It is important to remember to use probias or yogurt during the treatment period to maintain bacterial growth in the rumen.

IF the fawn is merely circling or dazed it could be thiamine deficient instead of blind. This can happen after
deworming or if the animal is still polluted with parasites. (Have a fecal sample checked!) Vitimin-B Complex-Plus  high in thiamine will normally correct this condition. your hint re: worming set the cure in motion.  Give up to 3cc of Vitimin B-12 1000 MGC injection, w/12.5 thiamine. If the animals need is for thiamine, top dressing pelleted food with Brewers Yeast will help.


Are generally harmless and fall off on their own.


Heel Fly or Warble flies
looks like a small puncture wound or like a huge pimple.  Take a pinch of black pepper and dab in puncture or hole. You will see a small black head protrude in and out.  Take a small tweezers while someone holds fawn and reach in and pull it out. keep the area clean and it will heal up.


Shelter for Fawns
Plastic barrels work very well. Put them along the edge of the pen (They seem to follow the fence line) with straw inside.  Or you can make small lean-tos with plywood attached to the fence or tree and staked to the ground on the low end.  The fawns will go to them and this will keep the older deer from picking on them. Works great for bad weather also.


Separate the Bucks
It is wise to separate the Buck fawns in the fall from the adult Bucks that are in with the Doe as some Bucks will kill them.  I personally have purchased two bucks for my shooting preserve that did this.
One killed all 5 of his own 5 month old sons within a week of each other before we picked him up. He did not kill the Doe fawns.  Not all bucks are this way, but is it worth it to keep them together?

(reprinted with permission from Whitetail Quest)