This is the place to keep up to date with news of special events, culinary innovations and new arrivals among our herds of deer.


Hungry? Sleepy? How Does Winter Weather Affect Your Behaviour? 


As we unfurl and brave the world outside after a few days of celebrating, huddling with family and friends and indulging in festive feasts, we start to consider the world outside and the impending dawn of a new year. While for some, this could mean visits to the gym and healthy new eating regimes, many of us find we still crave more sleep and more carbohydrate rich foods during the winter months.

When you feel ready, venture out for a walk in nature and you can ponder whether these patterns affect our farm animals too. 

Certainly for deer, with daylight dwindling, evolution has resulted in a phenomenon known as “winter inappetance”. This is due to changes in daylight hours during the winter where there is little natural forage. This causes the deer’s metabolism to reduce and their daily energy needs are considerably less. The reduction in daylight hours triggers the pineal gland in the brain. During this period, the deer tend to move less, conserving energy, consequently eating less and their digestive tract activity is greatly reduced. Even with a reduced appetite our Rangers still spend up to four hours daily feeding our herds silage and hard feed over the winter months! 

Deer are ruminants, which means that they have a four-chambered stomach, eat quickly and each chamber plays an important role in breaking down the food they eat.

Over winter, the young calves love to cuddle up in the warm dry straw in the shed – becoming healthier and stronger – while mature hinds still enjoy life outside! Their coats are increasingly thickening protecting them against chilly winter weather. The winter coat is different to the summer pelage (coat). The individual hair follicles of the winter coat are thicker and hollow trapping more air to insulate against the cold – as well as a denser coat overall. 

Why don’t you put on a warm winter coat, breathe some fresh air and keep the deer company over the Christmas holidays and watch your children let off steam in the Adventure Playground.

red deer at Sky Park Farm

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