Farm Animal Information - Deer

Red deer are more susceptible to FE than cattle.  Fallow deer are more susceptible than sheep so they need more protection than Reds.

Prevention options include:
· Spraying pastures with fungicide.  Regular spraying with fungicides provides the most appropriate control method for preventing FE in deer.  Start the spraying programme early while spore counts are low.
· Zinc: the effectiveness and safety of zinc as a prevention has not been researched.  If used, dose rates as for sheep (Fallow deer) and cattle (Red deer) should be followed.  Because of low water intake, zinc in drinking water is not highly effective but will help in some situations.
· Provide supplementary feed such as hay, silage, meal or crop.

LEPTOSPIROSIS VACCINATION IN DEER

Leptospirosis is a widespread disease of farm animals in New Zealand, and has been a cause of severe disease in humans as well.  Farmers especially dairy farmers were once the main type of group affected by this disease but the use of effective vaccination programmes on dairy farms has seen the disease reduce significantly in this risk factor group, the main group affected currently appears to be meatworkers.

Deer have been shown to be significant carriers of the disease in this country, and outbreaks in weaners can cause large losses.  Vaccination is a proven method of reducing infection and spread of lepto between animals and ultimately reducing the risk to humans catching the disease.

Recent work has even shown quite significant production responses to vaccination in deer.  Growth rates have been improved by up to 6.1kg in weaners and weaning percentages improved by up to 10%.  This is probably the simplest way to make an improvement in your deer production for a very modest cost.

A simple programme is to vaccinate weaners at 3months of age  with lepto and clostridial vaccines, autumn is a high risk time for these animals, give a booster after  4 weeks, and an annual booster to those that are retained in the herd, vaccinating hinds will give some maternal protection for the first 12 weeks after calving.

If you wish to incorporate a vaccination programme into your deer farming operation contact Chris Crickett .