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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fawning all over you!

Going back a few weeks, to the day before my parents arrived (which seems like yesterday really), we had an unexpected arrival. In fact, we had two arrivals. A friend of mine from work contacted me, since I had been out of the office, wanting to know if we could possibly take a fawn! She even sent an adorable video of her with the fawn. I was smitten, of course. She came to have the fawn because her neighbor witnessed its mother's demise in an auto incident. She had two fawns and one ran away into the woods, but he rescued the other one and brought it home. He lives in the city and really couldn't keep it, so it went to my colleague, and thus it came to me. It came along with a gosling who had been brought out of the woods by a dog....a dog whose teeth had pierced its skin on its back. I agreed to take both of them and consider what to do with the deer. I already had a single gosling that I had hatched from an egg, so I thought it might like a friend, which indeed it does.

So, the fawn went into the pen in the barn with the young chickens. She was incredibly tiny. I honestly think she was only a couple of days old.
I had 2 chickens in the pen who had sat on clutches of eggs and who had been raising their broods in the barn in a safe spot. I received the fawn along with a can of evaporated milk and a bottle. I knew, immediately, that cow's milk is not appropriate for fawns, but I double checked to be sure what might be better. Goat's milk it was, and....lo and behold....we have goats! So, little lady of the forest began to receive goat's milk by the bottle full. She just loved it. She had the most endearing habit of sucking on the bottle for a while, and then looking up at me with her enormous, deep blue eyes, and switching to suck on my chin or my earlobe! Boy did she have sharp teeth! But, I never did have the heart to stop her!

I knew, first and foremost, that only licensed wildlife rehabilitation specialists should be dealing with her, and I also knew that, adorable as she was, she would grow up into a very hungry adult deer, and a strong, beautiful wild creature, who really had no place on my farm.
So, with a heavy heart, I asked Kelly to take her to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic at Iowa State University veterinary school. I have previously taken baby rabbits there when my dog killed their mother, and also injured birds. Kelly had to go to the vet school for his poultry NPIP training, so he took her with him and she delighted the staff of the clinic, who all began taking pictures with their cell phones.

She had no fear of humans and loved to be held. If I began to walk away, after her bottle, she would cry, little mewing/bleating noises. It was simply magical to turn around and watch her trot, unsteadily, over to me and stare up at me, begging to be held on my lap. I held her on my lap for a long time, stroking her sweet, soft fur. Her little lines of white spots were mesmerizing, begging one to count them and try to "connect the dots." She would fall asleep on my lap and be perfectly peaceful. I truly think it was an unforgettable experience to have her for those three days. I never knew that fawns had such brilliant blue eyes, or such addictive personalities!

The gosling is beginning to look very much like a Canada Goose gosling. Its back is healing well and it loves to spend time with my Sebastopol cross gosling. I suppose I shall let them grow up together and if it wants to stay on my farm, I shall let it do so, and feed it along with our other waterfowl. If it wants to migrate or leave in the fall when the skeins of geese fly overhead in their endless procession, then so be it.

The wildlife clinic said that the fawn will be placed in a program for orphaned fawns where, once stabilized, they will receive minimal human contact and be prepared (over time) for release into the wild. I think that is best, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to have shared a few moments of her life and to have been bewitched by her charm.

19 comments:

Mom L said...

Claire, what an amazing experience for you! And I know that although you did the very best thing for the fawn, it had to be heartbreaking to part with her. I never knew they had blue eyes! Always assumed they'd be brown. What a little beauty!

But somehow you still managed to add yet another rescue to your farm! Hope the gosling thrives...I love the teenaged Canada Geese as I used to feed them by a lake.

Nancy in Atlanta

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

EnDEERing...indeed! What a positively gorgeous creature, your Lady of the Forest is. I had no idea! And your photos? Exquisite!

I miss her already and I've never met her in person....but through your beautiful writing and photos I am touched by her beauty and gentle personality.

Thank you!

Best wishes with the gosling. I can't wait to see some pics of him and your other web footed critter, too.

~Lisa

Nancy K. said...

What a wonderful gift! To have been able to share a few days with that magical creature. I can't believe how beautiful she is! Not many people ever get the opportunity to hold a tiny fawn in their arms. You've got some amazing memories and awesome photos to remember her by...

Artsy Fartsy said...

Just too adorable, I just said, "Why can't that be me.. I want it!!" We feed our little deer every day, we just a mile outside of downtown but we have a ton of them come to feed at the edge of the woods year long, Blessings, Janna

Mare said...

Oh Claire, she is just beautiful!!! It must have been so hard to let her go. That little thing would have had me wrapped right around her little hoof! But you did the right and good thing. You are amazing...

Becky Utecht said...

Oh what a great story! As a child it was always my fantasy to find a fawn. I loved the beautiful photos of her. You definitely did the right thing for her. And I'm so happy you have a friend for your gosling now too. They really need company to be happy.

corinne said...

What a wonderful post to read this morning!
She was so lucky to have you come into her little life, even for a short while :).

I need orange said...

How cool, that you got to spend that time with her (and good for you, sending her where she needed to be.....).

Thank you for sharing her with us.

kenleighacres said...

What an awesome experience! She is precious :) I'm glad your little gosling has a friend now. We hatched a single duckling out last year and he was so lonely.

Did Kitkat ever have lambs?

Flartus said...

It's hard to believe just how adorable that little baby is! No wonder Bambi is such a classic.Good for you for being able to let her go...I would've thought "oh, well, maybe after a couple weeks...a month...six months...oh, look at that deer in my garden!"

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

wow, beautiful story and photo's. Yes, of course, you did the right thing by it, but I know it was tough.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I feel bad for the beautiful fawn who may always be too bonded to humans to survive long in the wild. Sure wish she could be in a wildlife education program where she could be safe WITH humans and educate children about her wild family.

IsobelleGoLightly said...

What a beautiful little fawn! I talk to the ones that I see walking by my fence but I've never seen a prettier one.

Sarah Elaine said...

Beautiful photos! A precious opportunity, indeed.

Farm Chick Paula said...

Oh Claire- that was so amazing! I never knew any of them had blue eyes, either- that's a new one for me as well. Even though I know it was hard, I'm glad you decided to let her have a chance at a normal life... isn't it funny how brief encounters with animals sometimes changes your life and you never look at them the same way again?
Wonderful post!

Deborah said...

She is gorgeous!

thecrazysheeplady said...

What a cutie and what a gift for you. And a gift for the fawn as well.

I'm glad you posted the "right" thing to do to keep the education rolling.

Split Rock Ranch said...

OMG - she is adorable! How fortunate that you got to spend even a little time getting to know her.

Apifera Farm said...

Wonderful you could help her, and that you wisely and quickly sent her to Wildlife Rehab. But I also know how incredible it is to have a wold animal at one's fingertips- having held a 2 or 3day old fawn so it could get out of a tangled fence on our land where the deer cross. It lasted seconds, but, oh my gosh, I'll never forget it. Good for you, Claire.