Time of Healing

Emma and Ronnie healed fairly quickly after they ran themselves into the deer pen fences nearly two weeks ago. Ronnie’s ripped nostril continued to dry, then crack and bled again for a few days. And finally by the weekend, new, pink skin formed and the wound healed over. Somehow, the broken antler nub welded back onto the skull and is firmly attached again. We will not know until next year when Ronnie gets his first set of hard antlers whether the pedicle was damaged or not. Both he and Emma suffered concussions, which left them dull-looking for a few days, and very slow and lethargic. Fortunately, by the end of the week, they were feeling much more spry. Unfortunately, Emma’s encounter with the fence left her with a knocked out tooth, another loose and quite crooked tooth, and a lot of swelling. At first we felt her jaw could be fractured, but as the week went on we felt confident that it looked more like swelling only.

Ronnie's nostril tear is healing nicely, and his little antler nub has reattached.
Ronnie’s nostril tear is healing nicely, and his little antler nub has reattached.
Fresh-cut cat brier is a favorite browse found in our woodlands and in the pecan orchard.
Fresh-cut cat brier is a favorite browse found in our woodlands and in the pecan orchard.

The week after the fence incident had been difficult for me. I struggled with bitterness and anger at the children who had caused the situation. And I felt completely inept at helping to calm these two fawns who were now scared of a puff of breeze. It changed everything in our approach to everyday living. FD and I, and his mother and her husband, had always taken special care to respect the deer, not making sudden moves or causing any noise that would scare these reactive creatures that were always on alert. But after the fence incident, both deer were spooked by any movement, any noise. Aware of this, I found myself speaking in very soft tones, saying the same words over and over, words I knew they were familiar with, until I gained their trust again. FD had even more difficulty approaching them, since he was away at work most of the day. Each evening as he helped me with chores, was like starting all over again with them – as if he were a stranger.

If my worries over the deer weren’t enough, there was the recent appearance of a coyote in the pecan orchard. I had seen a coyote run through our bottom land just below the slope about a month ago. Then Friday morning of last week, as I made my way through the pecan orchard to gather eats for the deer, I spotted a coyote lazing in the shade of a pecan tree, looking in the direction of the gate I had just passed through (the gate from our home place ten-acres to the pecan orchard). This buggy path that I used was also an animal trail where I had found what I guessed was Daisy’s little buck Rooben’s hair nearly a month ago. Rooben was never seen again, and Daisy took off after that and has not returned since. This was the same pathway Daisy deer had used for years, and that cattle used, and where all sorts of small mammals traveled. The coyote had a perfect spot to see the comings and goings of any critter that it might call “lunch”. That evening FD and I went out with a rifle and we saw the coyote again but could not get a clear shot with cattle grazing nearby.

By Saturday, both Emma and Ronnie were looking better. In fact, they both felt frisky enough to do a few little jumps and partake in some gamboling after eating their morning feed, fruit, vegetables, and acorns. Throughout the day, I noticed them up and around more, grazing on elm branches and nibbling on cat brier. Things were feeling normal again. Mid-afternoon, FD and I set out to the orchard to meet our friend who grazes cattle on the land. While we were visiting, that same coyote showed up, making its way to the same shady spot I had seen it lurking in the day before. This time FD had a clear shot. There would be one less predator on the place, and maybe this would take my worry level down a notch when the time came to give Emma and Ronnie their freedom. Our friend was pleased as well. He mentioned that most of the time calves were in danger of falling prey to coyotes, but that a couple of years back coyotes had even mutilated one of his bulls by tearing away at the tail and testicles as the bull tried to get away.

Neighbor's have reported sightings of four coyotes in the pecan orchard area. This was a young female.
Neighbor’s have reported sightings of four coyotes in the pecan orchard area. This was a young female.

Elated and feeling a bit victorious over the reduction to the coyote population, we traversed back home with our load of elm branches for Emma and Ronnie. But when we pulled up to the deer pen, one look at Emma told me something had happened while we were away. Ronnie was fine. He seemed anxious to have a snack of elm leaves. But Emma stood pitifully at the fence, head down, blood drooling from her chin. As I entered the pen, she hobbled around to come my way, and I could see she had a bad limp. Her eyes were dull and dazed. There were no superficial cuts or scrapes, but her jaw and nose were swollen, and dark blood mixed with saliva drooled down from her chin. She would not let us touch her mouth to examine it. With a quick look around the pen, FD found the area where she had hit the fence. But looking around, we saw nothing apparent that might have spooked her, and Ronnie was just fine. Were they playing and she just got a little too spirited? The answer was hard to discern.

Emma was hurting badly the first couple of days after her second encounter with the fence.
Emma was hurting badly the first couple of days after her second encounter with the fence.
Still dazed and crippled most of this week, Emma rested in the soft grass. Ronnie was always nearby.
Still dazed and crippled most of this week, Emma rested in the soft grass. Ronnie was always nearby.
I caught Emma with her mouth open while chewing. The knocked-out tooth still has a portion of tooth protruding from under the tongue. The loose tooth is discolored and juts slightly to the side. There is still swelling in the lip and gum area, but Emma seems to be eating well.
I caught Emma with her mouth open while chewing. The knocked-out tooth still has a portion of tooth protruding from under the tongue. The loose tooth is discolored and juts slightly to the side. There is still swelling in the lip and gum area, but Emma seems to be eating well.

I have stepped up the foraging and gathering in the woods, hoping that good nutrition will help in the healing process. I keep searching for cat brier, acorns, and various weeds and plants that I know deer like. I cut fresh Siberian Elm each morning. I have purchased organic apples and pears from the store, and dug up the last of the carrots and white sweet potato from our own garden. As I write this, Emma and Ronnie are both eating well. Ronnie’s nose has healed nicely, though we will always recognize him by his funky little nose/nostril flap. Emma’s mouth is still healing. She does not close the jaw all of the way, but it is difficult to know if it is because of the crooked tooth, which is still loose and discolored, from swelling, or possibly due to a fracture. Emma is slow at nipping tree leaves and brier, but she still manages to eat fairly well. She is, however, still very sore and has a bad limp. Ronnie, on the other hand, is back to being a frisky buck – jumping, gamboling, and tossing his head (doing the “crazy head”). But he also seems to understand Emma is not up to snuff. Many times, I see Emma in the shade along the fence resting, and Ronnie comes up to mutual groom her. Then he folds his legs and lays down beside her, keeping watch while she shuts her eyes.

Both Emma and Ronnie have good appetites again. Emma eats a bit slower, but she's managing well.
Both Emma and Ronnie have good appetites again. Emma eats a bit slower, but she’s managing well.
Both Ronnie and Emma are drinking lots of water. With the 80 and 90 degree temps, sporting full winter coats, keeping hydrated is important!
Both Ronnie and Emma are drinking lots of water. With the 80 and 90 degree temps, sporting full winter coats, keeping hydrated is important!
Emma is still very lame and spends much of the day resting in the shade.
Emma is still very lame and spends much of the day resting in the shade.
Emma and Ronnie hiding in tall grass and cherry laurel trees grown up in the deer pen.
Emma and Ronnie hiding in tall grass and cherry laurel trees grown up in the deer pen.

So, needless to say, with my Emma struggling to recover from her injuries, one can find me, on many afternoons, laying on an old pink blanket near her and Ronnie. I choose a spot just a couple of feet from them, keeping just a bit of space between us, as deer do (they rarely lay right next to each other).  Sometimes, I keep watch, but most of the time I speak softly, touching each of them gently and thanking Universe/God for healing each body part as I brush my hand over it. And sometimes, I just close my eyes… and I rest a while with my precious babies.

© 2016 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


25 thoughts on “Time of Healing

    1. Thank you, Karen. We expected raising two fawns to be much like our experience raising Daisy deer five years ago, but it has been very different. We did not have near the challenges on the property that we have had with these two, and Daisy was a very trusting and mellow deer. These two are very flight-natured and very leery of strangers. We’ve had the neighbor’s dogs escape, plus a fox overpopulation, and now this coyote issue. We will have to take even more measures to keep these two safe from the fences.

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  1. You are a deer angel and a dear angel. The time and help you’re giving them is admirable. But then we animal lovers know, there’s no turning away when we’re dealt the hand of caring for an animal, whether it’s a dog, cat, deer, etc. I love all you’re doing and know were we to meet I’d love you as well. Such a kindhearted soul you are. ❤

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    1. Paulette, your tenacity to save dogs is what I find admirable. That you gift the proceeds of your books to help release dogs from kill shelters and find them homes is nothing short of miraculous. You and your husband have the most loving of hearts. I am proud and honored to call you my friend. 🙂

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  2. We are so glad that they are doing better, Lori! Some animals are just more easily frightened than others — there are even mice that, due to genetics, are afraid of the dark — but that is just the way things are. One thing that may be good to do with regard to foxes and coyotes, in the future, is to have FD pee in a container and pour it in spots around your property. They often respect pee signals as a sign of property ownership, marking boundaries, and (though it might not work for all, it will work for some).

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    1. Tom, yesterday was the first day I had noted Emma moving around a little bit easier. Slow but sure we make progress. Ronnie is back to being all boy. He’s frisky in the mornings, but still seems to understand Emma cannot play.

      I had read years ago about boundary urination to aid in keeping certain species out of garden areas. I have even managed to observe a fox investigating (sniffing) a place I have “deposited” human urine. It doesn’t seem to keep foxes at bay, but I would think it at least lets them know a human was in the area. It can’t hurt, that’s for sure. This spring and summer I observed Daisy peeing in a specific spot just outside of her old deer pen (where Emma and Ronnie are now). I wonder at the communication that left for the fawns or possibly other deer. Oh how I would love to know what so many things mean in the world of the wild things!

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        1. We don’t generally deal with predators unless they become a problem. A couple of years back I began looking at statistics on predation rates for deer in our state and our particular county is one of the highest. It has been a month since Daisy disappeared and I have not seen any deer in that time. With coyote sightings by myself and a couple of neighbors, it seems we have a problem. We will keep vigilant and try to give Emma and Ronnie the best chance to survive when we release them. 🙂

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  3. I was feeling cautiously optimistic as I read that Emma and Ronnie were recovering…and then… What a shame poor Emma got injured again. I will keep you all in my thoughts this week and send peaceful and healing vibes. xo

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    1. That means so much, Ardys. Though I am still concerned about Emma’s jaw and teeth, she seems to manage eating just fine with what she has to deal with. And yesterday was the first day she appeared to be moving around without a lot of pain. Slow but sure is the way to healing… we could all take a lesson from her. 🙂

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    1. Coyotes haven’t been so bad in the past but the last two to three years the population is up. I have followed our county and state statistics for a few years now. Our county in Oklahoma has one of the highest coyote predation rates on deer. So yes, before we release Emma and Ronnie there is at least one big coyote that I’d like FD to take down. Neighbor’s have sighted four at a time. It could be a family or pack. We will do what we can Pamela!

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        1. Oh, yes… they are bad here and I understand Texas has an even worse population of wild hogs than we do. If FD runs across them, he harvests the backstrap. We have only seen a couple on our place – during the year the pecan crop was plentiful. They love pecans. These hogs destroy farm ground and crops… and they multiply faster than rabbits! 😦

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  4. I’m very happy to know they are both recovering fast and well! I hate coyotes! A few years ago, in my area, they weren’t a problem due to mange but now the population has grown stronger and healthier. Farmers have had problems with them killing calves and they aren’t exactly afraid to take on a cow! I loved the picture of both Ronnie and Emma hiding in the tall grass and one of the reason I love it is you can see Ronnie’s antlers starting to sprout! One of the fun things I like to do is after the bucks shed their antlers is go out and find them which is super difficult! But the reward is pretty awesome! I will keep Emma and Ronnie in my prayers and give them hugs and kisses! 🙂

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    1. We collect antler sheds here too, and they are a real treasure to find! FD is much better at finding them than I am. I am a good skull finder. Just this past week on a hike to the river I found a feral cat skull and opossum remains. Both skulls were clean as a whistle! Ronnie is just a button buck this year but his nubs are the biggest I’ve seen on a fawn. I think that goes to say he’s very well fed! Thanks for your prayers… I do believe prayer and positive thoughts make all the difference. 🙂

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  5. Nature’s ways are amazing, aren’t they? It’s lovely reading this post and the way you take care of the “children.” It’s not an easy task, particularly when you have to also take care of predators! Your pictures and captions tell the whole story anyway!

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  6. Love two deer hiding in the tall grass. They do seem to be healing physically – hopefully calming from you will reassure them. It was such a start for ones who had been so protected.
    Glad you found the coyote – they are quick to learn and are smart.
    Had to laugh about the territorial peeing. The thing we’ve noticed here is that coyotes have adapted to urban life and while stay inthe shadow, have lost most fear of people.
    Some local organic farms/rescue farms have guard dogs like Bouvier de Flanders or Great pyranees – who are not pets, but working dogs that live outside with their charges. Not sure any deer as old as these two could bond and not be afraid, though.
    Trying to catch up on reading (been doing some pet sitting for fellow blogger so even less time to keep in the loop on line!)

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    1. That tall grass is just Burmuda grass that we let grow in the deer pen. There are some Cherry Laurel in there too that comes up on its own. The kids seem to enjoy eating the leaves and they spend most nights in this area between two barns. Daisy liked that spot too. Emma is finally getting around better. Her mouth/jaw looks improved too. And Ronnie’s nose looks good finally.

      You are correct in saying “working” dogs that are trained. This is no job for pets. We have friends who live in the country who have lost pets – even Great Pyranees and other large breeds, to the coyotes. Just because a dog is big does not mean it can stand up to a crafty coyote. It is not uncommon to see them laying dead at the roadside, so the population is up for sure.

      I have less time lately too. My in-laws (who also live here) are on a religious sabbatical so I’m working my tail off to get things done in their absence. Yesterday was about cleaning the chicken coop and doing some mowing. I cut back invasive vine and repaired fence earlier in the week. And I was able to burn one day that we didn’t have a lot of wind. This is the time of year though, that things slow down a little. I’m looking forward to more time here on the blog! 🙂

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      1. I’ve never seen Bermuda that tall – must be the pen protection. Here it gets cut or eaten.
        Livestock guard dogs are a whole different bred – Crazy K farms almost lost their veteran Pyranees goat protector due to heat this year. He’s recovered but now is guarding the house cats …he’s quite worried about his goats and they have to take him out to check them out morning and night.
        I think the European lines are still working dog stock. Our very serious Bouvier’s relatives sat quietly among sheep until the wolf came and was surprise attacked and killed. Dogs and coyotes in packs or family groups are more dangerous.
        I had to laugh at Ci’s blog comments about coyotes – one said there were more squirrels around due to lack of predators and clearing land – partly true, but also change of people’s lifestyles – We grew up hunting and eating squirrel – bet few do that now. My eldest uncles also grew up hunting for pelts to sell to fur trade in order to buy shoes, clothes, and what was needed for school every fall for all the kids in the family. That’s done, too.
        And so we have far too many gopher holes and little formerly prey animals.
        We need to find a balance or risk wrecking havoc in food chain and environment.
        Anyway, glad the little ones are getting better. Encouraging.
        Hope you have a great weekend – finally cool enough to wear long jeans here ( probaby for about 1 day) so Molly is thrilled and ready to run in fields with friend…she’s been so patient in this heat, but enough is enough – for both of us!
        Thought you might enjoy this – looks hand raised orphan to me. I think you do a better job. This one is waaay too tame.
        http://www.click2houston.com/video/video-fulshear-police-construction-workers-rescue-deer-tied-to-tree-1477007883206

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