As we start to see some glimmers of springtime, last week we took a visit to Glenn Whyte’s farm near Alford Forest, Canterbury to see how he and his deer have fared during the winter.
Thankfully, this winter has been kind - grass growth has continued and the deer have grown since the autumn (albeit a bit slower, because it is winter), which is great news.
Rations that have been stored include sugar beet, locally grown oats, silage and grass. He is also saving some of his pastures, especially for spring growth.
Due of the abundance of feed for his deer and good growing conditions, Glenn is planning to grow his deer out to a 140kg liveweight for harvest from October this year to June next year. This is to supply chilled venison for markets with regular and consistent quality.
It was great to see his deer in such top (and happy) conditions for winter. The coats look a bit muddy due to the fact that they love to play in the mud. Deer are naturally prepared to survive winter conditions with thick hairy winter coats which they will lose early summer. That doesn't stop them from having a good old time playing in the mud though!
All in all, it was great to catch up with Glenn and see how the farm is doing. It’s always a positive when the weather is kind - long may it last!