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.