Mid September marks the beginning of the rut (breeding season). Below are a few facts about what happens this time of year at Church Farm!
1. In the lead up to the rut (breeding season), there are a number of physiological changes to male deer including an increase of testosterone, the doubling of neck thickness, the larynx becoming more prominent and the tongue changing shape.
2. Roars are used as the first line of defence to deter rivals. A deeper louder roar signals a larger animal. The sound of a roar can help rival stags determine from a distance whether to try their luck, and females can use it to judge the best quality males in the area.
3. Stags will thrash about in the vegetation to make themselves look larger. They will also urinate and roll in our muddy wallows. This is their equivalent of aftershave on a Saturday night!
4. During the rut you may also notice the male deer tasting the air, this is to determine if the females are ready to mate.
5. The biggest and strongest stags spend most of their time chasing away challengers and preventing hinds from straying, leaving little time for eating or sleeping. A stag will lose around a third of it's bodyweight during the rut!