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Fawns

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It’s that time of year again – during the months of May and June our Midwestern residents begin to find fawns (baby deer) in their yards, under their porches, in the field behind their house, even hiding amongst their bushes and flower beds!  These babies are usually perfectly fine and do not need any sort of intervention from us.  Momma stashes her babies (usually twins) during the day and comes back for them around dusk each night.  She picks two different area and puts one fawn in one spot, then the other goes to a totally different spot.  This way if one fawn is found by a dog, fox, coyote, etc. the other one will still be safe.  These babies are often under 3 weeks of age and they are very wobbly on their feet – exactly like Bambi on the ice!  Because of this, they just can’t keep up with Mom when she’s out foraging during the day, plus they don’t stand a chance at running away from predators when they are this young.

Each evening, right around dusk usually, Mom will come back for her babies.  Baby will stand up and do a little happy dance when Mom returns, and chances are she will nurse her fawn right there in your yard for you to see and take pictures of.  If all goes well for the fawn, it is possible that she will use the same spot for her the next day.  Consider yourself lucky to get to share in this experience!  Please leave the fawn alone and let her mother return to her if at all possible.

Common Questions About Fawns:

There is a fawn in my yard/neighborhood that is walking around aimlessly and yelling at the top of her lungs.  What can I do to help her?

This is not how a healthy fawn should be acting.  Mom tells her kids to lay down and be quiet.  If they are wandering, coming up to you, your kids, your dog, and yelling – something is wrong.  Please call the Wildlife Hotline for assistance.

We found a fawn with an injury. What can we do?

Injured fawns need to be seen by a wildlife rehabilitator in many cases.  If a wildlife rehabilitator is not available for deer in your area then we must decide if the injury is one that the fawn can survive or if it would be more humane to have the fawn put down.  Many times we have to adopt a wait and see policy temporarily in order to make this judgement call.  Give us a call to describe the injury, or take a photo and send it to us at [email protected]

We were driving down a road and came across a fawn in the middle of the road. We can’t just leave her here, she will get hit by a car.  What do we do?

We know how disheartening it is to find a vulnerable baby in the road and we sincerely feel your pain in these situations.  However, Mom *IS* usually around to tend to this fawn.  Mom runs when she sees a car coming, but the fawns don’t really know any better yet.  When you get out of your car to check on the fawn, Mom usually hides out of sight, but if you walk the baby into the grass off of the road she should stay there.  When you back into your car, pull off to the OTHER side of the road, and if it is night time, you will witness Mom coming back to check on the fawn.  If it is day time, try to wait long enough to see if baby lies down and gets quiet.  If so, she’s waiting for Mom and exhibiting normal behavior.  If she follows you back to the car, is yelling and crying, something is wrong.  As always, give us a call for further instructions.

We have a possibly orphaned fawn in our yard that has been there for 3 days.  How can we tell if she is orphaned or not?

Behavior is the easiest way.  If baby is wandering around, following you or the family pets around in the yard, yelling/screaming all the time, and not trying to stay out of sight – something is wrong.  You can walk right up to a fawn without much trouble, whether they are orphaned or not.  If possible, walk up to the fawn and stand her up.  Check his/her bottom for matted fecal material by lifting the tail and looking under it.  If you see a lot of matted fecal material (poop) this is probably an orphaned fawn.  Mom would clean baby’s bottom if she was still around.  You can also test their ears.  Well hydrated and cared for fawns will have soft supple ears that feel very similar to your dog or cat’s ears.  If the edges of the fawn’s ear are crunchy and dried out, she is dehydrated and Mom might not be around anymore.  You will have to FEEL the ears to test this.  Visually you will not be able to tell for sure if they are dried out.  

We found a fawn with ticks all over its face and blind from the ticks on her eyes.  What can we do?

Believe it or not – this is an all too common occurrence.  It looks terrible and will make even the toughest of us cry.  If you are up for it and don’t mind trying to remove some of those ticks for the baby, please feel free to do so.  Use tweezers to pull them out and put each tick in a little jar of alcohol to kill them.  This is a tedious job.  It takes a long time to pick a lot of ticks off of an animal.  Usually a fawn will happily sit there in your lap and let you work on removing the ticks for a good long time before trying to get away.  Another option is to apply Frontline or a similar flea and tick product to the fawn.  If you have a flea/tick product in liquid form around the house for one of your pets, it will probably work just fine for the fawn.  Give us a call at the hotline to make sure that the product you have is safe for them before applying it.  If this isn’t something you feel comfortable doing – please contact us or a local wildlife rehabilitator for help.

We have a fawn in our neighborhood where there are dogs and cats roaming around and the fawn is in danger of being attacked if we leave her out there.  –OR–  We have a fawn in our neighborhood that is lying in the sun and in danger of overheating if left out there.  What can we do?

It is perfectly fine for you to bring the fawn in to a garage, shed, porch, or other safe place temporarily if the fawn is in danger.  At some point before it gets dark, please return the fawn as close to the original place you found her as possible and wait for Mom’s return.  If you are worried about the fawn being overheated, wipe her down with a cool, wet washcloth and offer her a baby bottle with warm Pedialyte, Gatorade, or a simple sugar mixture to help rehydrate her before attempting to reunite her later in the day.  Simple sugar can be made by combining 2 quarts of water, 5 tablespoons of sugar, 1tsp baking soda,  1/2 tsp salt then boil until dissolved well. When trying to feed it to the fawn, try dipping the bottle’s nipple in some sugar or maple syrup to coax her to take it.  If she refuses to drink – don’t force her.  It isn’t worth stressing her out more!  If she takes a couple of ounces and then stops, that’s okay too.  She knows what she needs and what she doesn’t.  Trust her instincts.  Momma is not going to reject her baby because she was touched by humans, or dogs, or anything else.  It is perfectly okay to attempt reunite later in the day when it is safe to put the fawn back outside.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about fawns or anything else in the wild outdoors, please feel free to contact us anytime- day or night @ 1-855-WILD-HELP.  Our rehab staff is happy to help you with your concerns.