New Digs Outdoors

Adding Ronnie deer to our household last week, caused us to change up our entire daily routine. Normally, FD and I got up at 6:00 each morning. While FD showered and dressed for work, I took care of our aging dogs – letting them outside to do their bathroom business, cooking breakfast for them, doling out their medicine, applying eye treatments to Zoe and Bear, and then kicking into gear to get FD’s and my breakfast ready by seven o’clock. This timing allowed FD and I about twenty minutes to visit, watch news, and eat before he headed off to work.  When orphaned Emma deer arrived, I took care of Emma’s feeding before I let the dogs outside, while FD showered. I often got up just a little earlier to accomplish everything I needed to do.  But it became painfully evident last weekend that, as much as I had hoped he would, Ronnie was just not going to wait for his breakfast until Emma was finished feeding – and it was total mayhem trying to feed them both by myself. Adding to the chaos, both fawns had chosen to sleep in our bedroom at night. Emma settled in our walk-in closet while little Ronnie opted to sleep in Daisy’s old dog bed by his mama’s side of the bed. So, no matter how quietly I tried to escape in the mornings to get dressed and start mixing and warming formula, both fawns immediately got up and began crying for milk. With this, we had no choice but to transition to a new morning schedule, which meant both FD and I would get up at 5:15 to feed Ronnie and Emma so that both of us could get on with our normal preparation for the day. This worked rather well, except Emma and Ronnie liked to frolic and play after breakfast and I found myself putting most of the dogs needs off until after I had served FD breakfast. In the wild, the mama deer spends time with her fawns (separately if there is more than one) grooming and sometimes bedding down with them, so I could not just feed Emma and Ronnie and immediately run off to tend to my other morning tasks. As a result, letting the dogs outside was all I managed to accomplish for them until the fawns were bedded back down, and FD was off to work.

Emma and Ronnie in a dark corning of the guest bedroom. This was their normal resting place during the day.
Ronnie and Emma in a dark corner of the guest bedroom. This was their normal resting place during the day.
Emma and Ronnie kick up their hooves running down the rug runway from room to room!
Emma and Ronnie kick up their hooves running down the rug runway from room to room!
Our three elderly Japanese Chin awaiting breakfast, medications and eye treatments. They are completely disinterested in Emma and Ronnie!
Our three elderly Japanese Chin awaiting breakfast, medications and eye treatments. They are completely disinterested in Emma and Ronnie!
After Ronnie arrived and we kept Emma inside to keep him company, Emma was often found looking out of the bedroom window.
After Ronnie arrived and we kept Emma inside to keep him company, Emma was often found looking out of the bedroom window.
Deer do not like being picked up! I have some nasty bruises to show for that! FD built a ramp for Emma so we could get her to the deer pen and back without the struggle of holding her in our arms. And Zoe and Bear love the ease of use too. Mr. T is scared of the ramp (as usual... he's scared of just about everything).
Deer do not like being picked up or held! I have some nasty bruises to show for that! FD built a ramp for Emma so we could get her to the deer pen and back without the struggle of holding her in our arms. And Zoe and Bear love the ease of use too. Mr. T is still scared of the ramp (as usual… he’s scared of just about everything).

I was thankful that we had introduced Emma to the garden and deer pen two weeks before. Because of that, she was acclimated to the lush, tall weeds in the deer pen, and had already been trained to have her bottle of formula in the barn. It really took no training at all for her to learn to leap in and out of the barn door – just the sight of her mama carrying a bottle into the barn, and Emma was a pro in no time. In fact, Emma seemed to be progressing so quickly, it was as if she were an old soul who had done this all before. She had been so good this past week to soothe little Ronnie, who was stressed from the combine accident and trip to the veterinarian. In a lot of ways, Emma was just like a little mother to Ronnie. Many times, I saw her grooming him or instigating play in the house. Emma was a self-starter from the get go. Early on, she seemed interested in nibbling clover that FD picked and brought inside, and she ate dirt from a little pan on the floor. And now Ronnie was learning from his big sister. FD and I could not believe how easy Emma made the transition for Ronnie, as he adjusted to having to move in with all of us.

Emma keeps an eye on those noisy neighbors of hers... the chickens!
Emma keeps an eye on those noisy neighbors… the chickens!
Emma is a self-starter. She started nibbling on greens and dirt all by herself.
Emma is a self-starter. She started nibbling on greens and dirt all by herself.
We planted all sorts of deer-friendly plants in the deer pen two years ago. The chicory has grown to six feet tall or more! I love the delicate blue flowers it puts off.
We planted all sorts of deer-friendly plants in the deer pen two years ago. The chicory has grown to six feet tall or more! I love the delicate blue flowers it puts off.
View of the deer pen from our house.
View of the deer pen from our house.

All was well with our household menagerie until late last week, when I discovered Emma had begun urinating on her own. Fortunately, it was no big problem, as I had several washable incontinence pads in her favorite sleeping places (something I learned from raising Daisy), but it did mean that soon she would be squatting to pee wherever she liked. I remembered when Daisy started squatting… the first time was right in the middle of the living room carpet and it seemed like she eliminated buckets of urine! I was not about to have that happen again, so FD and I decided yesterday that Emma and Ronnie would have to go to the deer pen, where they could bed down in nests of hay in the barn at night. Ronnie was still very small to be out of the house, but Emma had been so good for him, we knew we could not separate the two of them now. Ronnie would be lost without his big sister.

Emma showing Ronnie the outskirts of the pen.
Emma showing Ronnie the outskirts of the pen.
Emma knows her way around the deer pen vegetation.
Emma knows her way around the deer pen vegetation.
The deer pen already had a resident, but I'm sure Emma and Ronnie won't mind a bit!
The deer pen already had a resident, but I’m sure Emma and Ronnie won’t mind a bit!
Emma is always near, reassuring her little brother.
Emma is always near, reassuring her little brother.
Ronnie gets more courageous about the giant, green plants.
Ronnie gets more courageous about the giant, green plants.
Ronnie keeps looking back to assure himself we are still there.
Ronnie keeps looking back to assure himself we are still there.
Ronnie was found bedded down in a wheat field. I wonder if green plants are new to him?
Ronnie was found injured  in a wheat field. I wonder if he is intrigued by the green plants?
Ronnie checks out the barn door entry.
Ronnie checks out the barn door entry.
Emma beds down in her favorite spot!
Emma beds down in her favorite spot after having a run-in with the fence, leaving a big bump and swelling under her left eye. She got carried away running and leaping and crashed into the fence. Daisy had a couple run-ins herself before she learned her limitations in the fenced area. We are planning to put mesh screening along the fence for added shade and to create a visual barrier for the deer.
Ronnie isn't too sure about Mama being on the other side of the fence.
Ronnie isn’t too sure about Mama being on the other side of the fence.

Reading back over old notes I made when we raised Daisy deer, I was reminded how I fretted and worried about her being alone outdoors in the night without her mama. I remembered much of my stress was lessened when injured Holly deer came along and Daisy had a companion to keep her company. This time, it was indeed a blessing to know Emma was already comfortable in the pen and barn, and Ronnie would have his big sister to lead him and comfort him. For the first night in several weeks, I slept wonderfully last night knowing they would be fine together – and not being awakened by the sound of Ronnie crying, or Emma deciding to take a little romp in the bedroom at two o’clock in the morning.

When FD and I went outdoors to feed them just before sun-up this morning, we found Emma lying in her hay nest in the barn, with Ronnie bedded down just a short distance away in a heap of pine shavings. Neither fawn rose up until I made the “mama” call for milk – a noise I learned from Daisy when she called her hidden fawns to come to nurse. FD and I smiled at each other while I held onto two bottles being jerked and shaken by hungry Emma and Ronnie, and FD began initiating their bathroom business. As a gentle breeze blew through the barn door, we took in the fresh morning air and the sounds of exuberant sucking, little hoof stomps, and tiny little mews for more milk when the bottles were emptied. And all was right in our world, as the sun came up on the Ten Acre Ranch…

© 2016 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


44 thoughts on “New Digs Outdoors

    1. You are so correct on the work part of it, but the rewards are so worth it. It’s actually getting easier as each week goes by. Soon we won’t have to help them potty and that makes a big difference! 😀

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    1. I’ll be calling you one evening or day (when there is ample time!!) to ask about what you remember about the fawn area of wildcare, and maybe pick your brain about formula. We’ve had a good bit of trouble getting the BM’s to be as they’re supposed to… and about the time we get things as they should be, the fawns incorporate more greens in their diet and it’s a mess again! Ha ha! I look forward to a little “me” time as well – getting my Yetta fix! 🙂

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  1. Wow, so special to get to follow your journey. I’m guessing Emma is benefitting from your previous experience and you are much more relaxed now than with Daisy. Animals pick up on those sorts of energies. Did you know that a joey (baby kangaroo) has to have it’s ‘bathroom business’ initiated too, when raised in captivity? I only learned this recently. That photo looking down the corridor in your house, with Ronnie and Emma is so funny. It just seems so odd to see two deer in someone’s house, as if they were domestic pets! Enjoy your babies, and better sleep, Mama Lori! Thank you for sharing it with us.

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    1. Ardys, doing wildlife rehabilitation I understand that many mammals need help initiating the bathroom business. I’m not surprised that joeys are the same. I wonder if feeding an orphaned joey would be quite different. I know here the opossum is a marsupial (like the kangaroo) and they must be fed with special tubing and not a bottle. It’s always fascinating to observe and learn about the ways of wild things. FD and I are already seeing how very different these two are from Daisy.

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      1. There is a BBC tv series shot here outside of Alice Springs called Kangaroo Dundee. You would love it and all your questions would be answered. I’ve learned so much from watching it. It is about a fellow who raises orphaned joeys. Enjoy your babies.

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  2. I always look forward to your blog. Your writings make me feel like I am right there with you. You and FD are such a blessing on this earth.

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  3. Lori, those two little fawns are so lucky to have you and FD who is quite the handy man, You are so fortunate to have a husband who can build just about anything. The deer pen is impressive and the fawns have everything that they could possible need. You have a safe haven for them and the fawns are thriving. Loved this post with the great photos.

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    1. Thank you, Yvonne! FD is a great handy man! He started out in construction in high school and from that, he’s worked about every job that has to do with construction. It is indeed wonderful to have someone who can repair, build, and knows what to do in any emergency. Those deer have no idea how FD adores them! Ha ha! We are making a few improvements to the barn area and fencing. I’ll be posting about that sometime soon.

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  4. What a relief it must be to get them transitioned to the outdoor pen. But boy are they ever cute!
    We’re looking forward to seeing some fawns emerge from our woods someday soon. Keep up the great work/love!

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    1. Hey Monica! You’ll be seeing more activity than we do I bet! Just today I attempted to follow Daisy to her secret place, and I scared up a doe and just a distance further a fawn went leaping off, alarmed. I have a feeling it was my presence that caused the ruckus, so I went back home. The mama’s have enough trouble keeping those long-legged leapers in place. They don’t need me making life difficult!

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  5. All of that experience with Daisy and Holly paid off. Emma is just like her human counterpart. A caring and loving individual who wants to help whenever she can and the two deer are transitioning to outdoor life incredibly well. It must be a HUGE relief to get your house back and I bet your dogs are very happy as well 😉

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    1. Yes Fran, we’re back to making our usual noise in the house, and the nights are peaceful again. On a sad note, my little Zoe is not doing well. Neither is Bear. Zoe hasn’t eaten in three days – I’m afraid she’s giving up. I have been cooking special foods for Bear for about three months and Zoe for two weeks. It’s helped Bear maintain weight, but I just can’t get Zoe interested in anything. It’s really wearing me out to spend time with each of the dogs and the fawns… and of course Daisy when she shows up – plus keep up with this place and house work. So yes, little things like getting the deer outside, and also Emma is doing well doing her own thing with the bathroom business. Ronnie is also beginning to pee on his own every now and then. Emma’s eating greens, dirt and deer pellets on her own! All of these things help make life easier on this old girl! 😀

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      1. People just don’t realise how much hard work living on a property is. They have wonderful ideas about how lovely it would be but when it comes down to it, its solid hard work just to keep it from going feral. I am so sorry about Zoe and Bear. It’s hard to reach that stage of a dogs life and know that soon they will pass over. Being with her and giving her what she needs with comfort and love would be hard with everything else you have to do. I am sure moving the deer out would make it a lot easier to segregate the work load and less stressful on your furry babies. Please give Zoe (and Bear) a cuddle from me. I can’t remember the other one’s name! Please give them ALL a cuddle from me. Earl says give them a lick as well but I will leave that up to your discretion 😉

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        1. Ha ha! Tell Earl I gave them a big SNIFF from him!! Mr. T is the other chin. He’s the one with “fear” problems… fear of people, of new things, slick floors, shadows… you name it. Half the time he does not recognize FD or me and barks at us. Always interesting with him in the house. Thank you for thinking of Zoe and Bear. I’m doing ok, I’m just sad a lot. Zoe’s always been my little ranch hand. Rode in the buggy with me and waited in the shade while I worked. She was fearless with varmints on the place. Maybe in her next life she’ll come back as a bigger dog and can get some respect working on a real ranch as a working dog! LOL And you’re right – property is a lot of work. Unless you have lots of money to dole out for hired help, then you had better have gumption and determination or as you say, it’ll go “feral” and that doesn’t take long, does it? 😀

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          1. No, it certainly doesn’t! We are still battling my dads “feral” from 20 years ago ;). How could I POSSIBLY have forgotten Mr T! He is so much like Bezial. Earl is the fearless one and Bezial thinks carefully about everything and worries a lot. Earl could care less about getting into trouble. He ate Steve’s shoes yesterday, just because he could. He hasn’t touched them prior to now but something told him that they would make a nice snack and so he went with his instincts. Steve was NOT happy but he had been told that Earl was unpredictable when it comes to things to chew so had been on notice that his shoe hiding spot wasn’t all that hidden. What would we do without our dogs? They are hard work, they take a lot of our time and energy but we are entirely privileged to have them in our lives for the short time that they are with us. You are a truly good owner Lori and your dogs are very lucky to live with you 🙂

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    1. Aw, thank you Tom! They are cute and those personalities are so different. It will be an interesting journey for all of us to see how they grow and change. 🙂

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  6. You’ve taken on quite a handful, Lori, but who better to do it than you? I think all your readers, myself included, enjoy living your life vicariously through your writing and pictures. ❤ So glad you are able to squeeze in a bit of time to share!

    PS: Love your bed! I want to build one similar to it using the cedar trees on the Mountain Farmlet.

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    1. That is aspen wood, Lynda. Cedar would be lovely! We also had drawer pulls made from the same wood for the drawers. I’ll have to email you a photo of the whole bed. The headboard is very interesting! I wouldn’t doubt when you and Bob move to the mountain farmlet, that you won’t have this same wildlife experience in one way or another. It’s really special.

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  7. Wonderful photos! You are protecting and teaching two new fawns the life of being a deer while protecting, feeding, and helping them out until they are old enough to go out on their own. The experience of raising Daisy shows in raising these two fawns.

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  8. Like double trouble twins. (Love that 2nd picture – they look like they are up to something) Glad it is going well (Daisy did a great job training you) The deer pen with all the folliage is wonderful – like a deer fairy tale land. Having them out there is a big help, I’m sure. Hope your little dogs are hanging in there and eating better.

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    1. The deer pen foliage is lovely but it’s not enough shade for them. We will have to buy additional fence panels (not cheap at all) to add to the pen so that Emma and Ronnie will have shade on the south side of the chickens under a wonderful pecan tree. Alas, because these two seem to crash into the fencing (apparently they cannot see the wire) we will have to put mesh shade alongside the fence panels so that they can see a “barrier” (again, not cheap). Daisy never had this trouble. And sad to report, Zoe is worse. She hasn’t eaten in three days now and seems to be giving up. I called the vet today and we’re taking her off one med as it sounds like she’s being over-medicated. Bear is so skinny he looks like a saddle rack with a rug thrown over. But his appetite is still good so we are happy for any good news we can get. Thank you for asking. It means a lot.

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      1. Nope, those aren’t cheap panels, but they do need shade. The mesh is a great idea – deer seem to see far away when running but not close – or the wild ones we see in the wetland/park area seem that way.
        Overmedicating could be the problem – it was with one of our older relatives. Shall keep you and all of yours in our thoughts and prayers. Hugs to big and small!

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  9. It’s funny how e change our timings, schedule, behaviour and lifestyle for our pets – something we would resist doing for our fellow humans! Pets are such great companions. Great post, as usual. As for our own Mr. T, he’s also scared of anything new that moves – or does not – except for cats!

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  10. Oh that is beautiful! See how the Universe just knows…bringing Ronnie to you and having Emma to teach him the ropes! She needed to start sleeping outdoors and now she would not be alone. They are so pretty to look at, so delicate and graceful looking. I love happy endings! 🙂

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