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Deer Easy To Raise
Deer farming is already big business in New Zealand and it's catching on fast in Europe. Now, the largest deer producer in the U.S. has taken steps to form a North American Deer Farmers Association in an effort to trade information and increase the numbers of deer farmers, if possible.
Josef Von Kerckerinck, a German who originally came to the U.S. to raise beef, has a 4,500-acre farm near Chaumont, N.Y. He already has a herd of fallow deer that numbers over a thousand. All animals are slaughtered right on the farm and the carcasses sold direct to restaurants in New York City. He gets $4 per pound for the meat and says he can sell everything he can raise. He's been raising deer in New York for seven years.
Von Kerckerinck raises fallow deer which is the most common type of deer raised in Germany. They've been domesticated for centuries and thus take well to confinement. In England and New Zealand, the most common type of domesticated deer are Red deer.
Fallow deer generally produce a single fawn each June starting at age two. Over 90% survive. They require tall fences a major expense - because they can easily jump fences of ordinary height. They have almost no known disease problems and about 400 does can be maintained on 100 acres of good pasture. Surveys of over 2,000 deer farmers in New Zealand have shown that domesticated deer gain almost twice the lean tissue per acre as beef cattle and put on only half as much fat. Carcasses of Von Kerckerinck's slaughtered animals weigh out at about 60 lbs.
Breeding does sell for around $400 apiece while younger does can be had for $250 to $350. A good stag that can service from 12 to 30 does may sell for as much as $3,000.
The initial meeting last April of the North American Deer Farmers Association drew about 20 new members. "We hope to work together to establish reliable markets for venison and to develop a larger gene pool for cross breeding," Von Kerckerinck told FARM SHOW.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lucky Star Ranch, Box 372, Chaumont, New York 13622 (ph 315 649-5519).

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #4