Back in March, an inner voice kept telling me “More Than One”. So I was not surprised as, one by one, orphaned fawns, Scout, Gracie, and Ruthie came to live with us. However, I was definitely surprised in late September when Forrest was contacted about yet another orphaned fawn that needed a new home. This fawn was a good distance southwest of us, and the couple that had taken it in after the mother was killed by a hay swather, found themselves needing to relocate to another area. With their impending move, they knew they could not continue raising the fawn. I could not imagine how they would manage such a long transport with a four-month-old fawn, but I said, “Sure. Why not?” After all, how could we turn away a little girl in need of a new home.
Still, I worried about a few things (I know, me, worry?). What if Scout, Gracie, and Ruthie did not accept a new one into their tight, little sisterhood? The deer pen would not be easy to divide into two sections without some additional work and expense. I sure did not have the time to monitor their behavior either. And, as the day of delivery got closer and closer, I worried that transport might turn out to be a catastrophe. I had heard stories where transporting deer did not go well, and I surely did not need to add tending to an injured fawn to my list of daily chores! Obviously, the old Eeyore in me was creeping back into my brain, and I worried about everything that might go wrong.
Of course, Eeyore was proven wrong, and nothing went awry. The couple arrived with a carefully thought out plan for transport, and Forrest was prepared on our end for an easy transition to the deer pen. The only difficulty with little Penelope, was her attitude about being pulled from the cozy truck hauler. But we all had a good laugh once she was in the deer pen, as she had put up such a fight getting out of the livestock hauler that she shredded her daddy’s cargo shorts in the process!
Once she was safely on land in the deer pen, and apologized to with the gift of a few cucumber chips (her favorite snack), she moseyed around the pen to check out the vegetation, water, and of course, her new sisters. Thankfully, Scout, Gracie, and Ruthie took it all in stride and did not react negatively to their new pen-mate. It was a warm, sunny afternoon after all, and it was time for some important rumination and napping that could not be disturbed for too long by the new kid on the block.
Over the next days, “Sweet Pea” (short for Penelope and easier to say) showed us she was much like Scout – independent and resilient. Gracie quickly became her friend. Ruthie occasionally bossed her around and hoofed at her, especially around food (Ruthie is all about the food!). But Sweet Pea has settled in nicely, and is acclimating to her new herd.
Since her arrival, Sweet Pea has also been introduced to a very different diet than she was getting, and seems to be loving it. She’s often first in line for the elm, apricot, apple, and pecan leaves on branches I cut each morning. She also enjoys the root vegetables and fruit I put out each morning while those are still in season. She loves acorns and Double Down deer feed. And she loves to play. In fact, she is often the instigator of morning play in the cool temperatures of autumn.
While she’s a tiny deer, Sweet Pea has shown us she is quite capable of standing up for herself. Our first orphaned fawn, Daisy, was a tiny girl too and, after setting her free, she continually proved to us she could manage in the wild, despite her size. Release for this foursome is just around the corner on January 16th. I am hopeful that, over the next couple of months, the sisterhood of Scout, Gracie, Ruthie, and now Sweet Pea, will become even stronger, and bond into an inseparable, small herd.
© 2020 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…