We have a lovely herd of Fallow deer here on the farm, but despite growing up with us they are still very shy remaining just out of reach on the morning feed run, yet delighting us with their stylish prance and charm. With only one fully grown Stag, Rudolph, we have to be careful of inbreeding and every few years we need to introduce fresh blood to the herd.
Farmer Nick had phone call from the game keeper who found Rudolph for us a few years ago. He made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. A London Park needed to thin it’s stock and were happy to pay for them to be captured and loaded for transport providing they were going to a good home. The gamekeeper immediately thought of us and was willing to give his time to transport the deer all the way from Hammersmith asking in return simply that we cover his diesel. Given we were thinking it was time to introduce some new blood anyway this was a golden opportunity.
A Slippery Start
The van arrived just as my friend and I were returning from a wet winter’s run, already muddy and keen to meet the new arrivals we agreed to help take them over to their new field and meet our gang. However with a soggy waterlogged farm and a heavy trailer this proved a mammoth task involving getting well and truly stuck in the fields with tractors pulling, land rovers pushing, diggers pulling tractors pulling…. you get the picture, oh and a good bit of cursing into the bargain. An hour or so later the Farm looked trashed and the entrance to the deer field remained tantalisingly out of reach.
The poor deer must have been fed up with the whole ordeal and have wondered what was happening. That said peeping through the trailer they looked remarkably calm compared to my expectations.
Finally Farmer Nick and the Gamekeeper took the sensible option and aborted this particular delivery option driving instead all the way round the road to the Coombe Mill Stables where there is a hard surface access to the Deer field. Finally backed into the field we were able to open the trailer doors and watch them bolt out.
I had expected them to head straight for cover in the dying bracken and trees, but instead, they paused halfway down the field and turned to watch us and even come back towards us, then I knew these were going to be savvy deer at the front of the breakfast queue each morning with no fear of humans.
It wasn’t long before the new Londoners had integrated into the herd and found their place in the ranks beneath our Rudolph. Come breakfast time the regulars led the newcomers down the field, yet to everyone’s delight instead of prancing away when the children crept close the Londoners stayed and ate out of the children’s hand!
Now we are hoping these savvy Londoners will impart their bold ways onto the rest of our herd and not steel all the treats for themselves!
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.
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