A month ago, I wondered if Daisy deer would return to our neck of the woods to set up her nursery this year. Five years ago, FD and I took Daisy in as an orphan when, after a couple of days, there was no sign that a mother had returned to feed her. This ten acres, and beyond, has been Daisy’s home all of her life. During the winter months, she roams with a small herd of local does from the Ten Acre Ranch to the river, just a half mile away. Each spring, she returns to our home place (her home place) to set up a nursery area in which to have her twins. For three years now, she has birthed her babies in the neighbor’s backyard. But this year, we know she will have to find another place. We just hope it is on our place.
Last summer, our neighbor took in a pregnant female dog that someone dumped off by his home. Being on the edge of town on property zoned as agricultural, it is not uncommon to find unwanted dogs and cats abandoned here. This female had eight puppies. Six of them lived. And our neighbor has decided to keep all of them. They are a large, pit-mix breed. Not having real secure fences, the adventurous bunch, unfortunately, often get loose. This has made for a very unhappy situation for me. It has not helped my mood to catch photos on our game cameras of these large, intimidating dogs chasing all wildlife from the feeding area – especially the deer. A couple of night photos showed Daisy running with two of the dogs in hot pursuit. Sometimes it is Ms. Foxy who is being chased. Day escapes are equally disturbing. Squirrels scold their presence, and a cacophony of bird alerts ring out as the barking mob passes through. One morning, I watched hopelessly as they tromped through my lettuce garden, smashing new sprouts, and urinating on my established herbs and leaf lettuce. I ran outside to shoo them away, but they were already off to harass the chickens. Sadly, they know their way around the place.
Despite the mayhem of dogs running through our property, I have been surprised a few times lately, to find Daisy emerge from the lush green of the woodlands to feed on corn and deer feed down below our slope. She also spends a little time munching in the new clover patch down below, and she nibbles on tree greens, twigs and dead leaves on the ground. After eating, she licks on the mineral block, gets a long drink of cool water at the wildlife water tub, and then sets off into the thick of the woods. Where she goes after that, I can only guess – maybe over to the neighbor’s property to the west. They also have a wild and woolly woodland bottom. I am confident Daisy is nearby, and has found a place to birth her babies close to home. For now, she is a contented mama-to-be, eating everything in sight and doing a lot of resting, and growing that enormous belly! When I am fortunate to spot her at the feeders, I don a long-sleeved jacket and grab the camera. When I am with her, I help pull winter hair off of her and pick ticks from her face. I also shoo away mosquitoes and flies while she eats. And when she has finished grazing, I usually follow her into the woods, until I can take no more of the mosquitoes, or get spooked by a snake!
Meanwhile, I will keep close watch on her udder and I follow her as much as I can to see where she might be going. In the past, Daisy has had her babies any time from the 24th of May to the 5th of June. I have a feeling I might need to secure one of those mosquito net hats, and possibly some snake-proof boots if I am to keep up with Daisy and locate her birthing area!
© 2016 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…