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HEALTH IN OUR DEER
How many times have we heard the phrase "You are what you eat"? This simple axiom is the fundamental key to health for all forms of life. Food, as we generally understand it, is a mix of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, to which each species (man included) has developed individual digestion systems. Deficiencies in any part of our diet manifest themselves in due course; animals also require their "Daily Bread", and likewise suffer if their diet is lacking in any of the key areas.
Herbage is converted to beef, lamb, venison, milk, etc., according to the species of animal. We also supplement the intake of domestic animals to improve conversion of pasture and health where we know there are deficiencies in the freely available herbage. But how many of us have taken the time to find out the specific dietary requirements of the deer (as opposed to sheep or cattle that may be sharing the same land) we are responsible for? Did you know that one of the main reasons deer browse trees is to obtain the trace elements and minerals that their deeper roots tap into?
It is well accepted that most (if not all) of the Red & Sika deer range in the UK is to a greater or lesser degree deficient in trace elements such as Copper, Cobalt, Selenium, etc, and that the herbage growing there is also lacking in these elements which are vital to the overall health of all wildlife living on it (study papers showing the effects on grouse and other wildlife are available). Ask yourself: How good is the feeding (including trace elements) for your hinds and their unborn calves - your future stock?
Deer are quite able to survive on a "high fibre" diet, but are nonetheless specific in their requirements concerning trace elements; it is also an accepted fact that whilst a calf born below average weight will never grow to be "Monarch of the Glen", a calf produced above average weight has every possibility of developing into a better quality animal. You, as the deer manager can help achieve this.
Take a look at KNZ Wild mineral blocks - the only purpose-built deer mineral block in Europe with guaranteed levels of trace elements (not just estimates). Could your deer benefit from better trace element availability in the areas where they prefer to eat and stay? A good mineral block costs a little more than an inferior one in terms of price, but the benefit to the deer is far greater. For the price of one stag, your whole herd could be benefiting from the KNZ Wild block; weíd all prefer the venison cheque to be fatter, but this can only come about by improving the health of the deer stock. All this is possible if you stop and think about it. Iím writing this because I believe in the value of correct nutrition for our deer, to improve their health, reduce damage to our lands, and to hopefully benefit the deer in their overall worth as an asset to the Estatesí economy. Thank you for reading this far, and donít hesitate to contact us if you wish to find out more.
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