Red deer are a type of deer that are native to Europe and Asia, and are well-suited to cold weather conditions and can thrive in climates with long, harsh winters. They have thick, insulating coats that protect them from the cold (each hair on a deer’s coat is hollow, trapping air to help them retain heat), and their hooves are adapted for walking on snow and ice. In the wild, red deer migrate to higher elevations in the summer to avoid the heat, and will then return to lower elevations in the winter.
Red deer are ruminants, which means that they have a four-chamber stomach that allows them to digest tough, fibrous plant materials. This makes them well-suited to a diet of grasses and other forages, which are typically the mainstay of their diet on a farm. However, in the winter, we take extra care to ensure that our deer have access to enough food and water to keep them healthy and well fed. This involves us supplementing their feed with haylage to ensure they get enough calories and nutrients, and regularly breaking the ice on their water troughs to give them easy access.