We have recently been doing a lot of work with deer and deer farmers/breeders. Two of the challenges of working with deer is that firstly, they are so skittish and secondly, they can jump incredibly high barriers.
During a recent round up of Red Deer that we helped out with, we discovered just how high the most athletic of the animals could leap if they were cornered. Despite having posts and fencing set up at 8 feet and higher, one or two of the most determined deer still managed to escape. One of the benefits of helping out with other people's projects is that we are then able to observe and learn from their experiences.
So for this project, we worked closely with the owner to ensure that the fencing leading into the catching pen was both high enough to prevent the most athletic of deer from escaping and also strong enough to hold a large herd of deer who are all straining at the walls of the pen to get out.
Having a strong holding area or catching pen is vital for deer because there is routine work that needs to be done, from health checks to treatment for illness and injury or de-horning. The problem for the handlers is that deer are essentially wild animals and take a long time to calm down after a round-up. Any weakness in the handling system will immediately be exploited and, if a deer escapes, it can take hours to re-capture it, if at all. It is also important to take the deer safety into consideration – the posts and wire needs to be as sooth as possible to prevent any tears to the deer skin. Any gaps that are too large can see a deer catching their antlers and this too can cause injury to the animals.
The catching pen for the deer that we designed and built for our client used creosote 4”-5” 2.7m posts with tornado Titan deer netting. The corners were all boarded with 150 38 5.4m creosote rails, and we built a pen to link up with handling area inside the shed. We fixed strong gates to the pen which were durable but relatively light to handle.
The idea was to make one enclosed run with no chance for the deer to escape. As far as possible we also used boards to limit the visibility for the deer once inside the pen. That way, the temptation to make a jump for it is diminished.
If you have an agricultural, equine or domestic construction project that you feel we could help with, get in contact with Jamie Dodd on 07766 815830.