The winter rut and a life of five years longer than in the wild: how to grow deer on a farm in Transcarpathia

Almost 30 years in Ukraine runs a deer farm. It even allowed everyone to see the deer and feed them. It is situated in the Carpathians, near the town of Khust and the village of Iza, and covers an area of 57 hectares.

Its owner and CEO Michael Bugas told us that story to a reindeer farm started when from the Kaliningrad region brought about 90 deer for divorce, 45 but almost immediately escaped through a hole in the fence. The road was long and difficult, for three days, and the animals are very prestressly. Part was caught, and the part had to shoot: they were not allowed to own people. Then took another deer, and the herd now numbers about 350 animals. I live here deer up to 20 years, but in nature — to 14.

On the farm they feel at home: come out to the feeders (morning and evening), and then go far into the woods. There is a river from which they drink water, but in the heat and did just climb in and sit — just a head with eyes visible.

In the November-December deer rutting begins. For males then look scary: they don’t eat anything messy in the dirt and fight all the time, sometimes even to death. The winners will receive the opportunity to cover females, and at the end of June-August there is mass lambing. DOE carrying babies around seven months. However, now, with the change of seasons and weather, the rut moves slightly, and that’s too bad, experts say: if the fawn is born late, it could die from the cold because his summer coat will not have time to change to winter. And take him in his arms, to warm, it is impossible: the mother could drop the baby, and he will die.

“When a fawn is born, the mother feeds him and then leaves and grazing in the 100-150 m from it. The deer’s not going anywhere. At night she returns, again feeding it and moves to another place. The worst enemies for kids — crow. Sometimes from the forest come the wolves, but have had no problems: deer, they do not touch,” says Michael.

With the owner — a full understanding

Kids. Kept watchfully


We got lucky twice. First, we came exactly at the time of feeding. Secondly — we made an exception and allowed in the paddock. Usually give visitors the opportunity to feed the animals through the bars, and one of the most docile and trusted deer walking in the paddock and is responsible for communication with visitors. “The deer know that if a lot of people, food will be a lot, because they fit better. If arrived just a couple of people, they realize that food will be a little, and go out only the most blatant,” explains Michael.

I solemnly handed a yellow plastic 5-gallon bucket full of special corn flakes for the reindeer — they’re sugar-free. And then I run up to the most arrogant individuals who must be fed. I want to feed the fawns, but I just can’t get through the crowd of adults ogloedov. At some point, especially unscrupulous deer just stuck his face in a bucket, it hurts pridemov handle elbow, and I couldn’t get out until he’s finished everything that’s there. I’m even a little offended at these impudent, who won’t let me Tinker with the calves.

Beggar. This deer ate all my supply of corn sticks

HANDSOME WITH CHARACTER. While the photographer talked with the deer, took pictures and shared emotions, we are guarded by staff. Deer, like humans, are by nature different: there are individuals who’s chest with the hooves can strike. Each pet employees know literally “in your face”: kind of temperament that loves hurts. Particularly aggressive to us tried not to admit.

The flock eats a lot, and costs the owner dearly. Hay in the feeders always unlimited, and the wheat is poured twice a day, morning and evening. This year winter is severe, so the standard 140 tons of wheat (cost of UAH 160 000 annually) were not enough and had to buy another. Also on the season, buy about 40 tons of hay. Since mid-March, the herd starts to get meals in the summer they do not need to feed, and in winter they completely depend on the person. The colder, the more fodder they have to give. Local employees, in addition to feed deer, 2-3 times a day around the area — check, if not killed a deer a wolf, if there are any injuries, do not come poachers and so on. They escorted the visitors, give out food and stuff.

Michael says the best time to see and feed the reindeer herd — may-July. Then they become beautiful: light brown with bright white spots, like Bambi. Now, on the contrary, they are dull, without horns, spots barely show through soon the animals will begin to moult. But on the other hand, it is clear how they look and “life”.

The entrance fee is UAH 20 for adults, 10 UAH — for children and pensioners. So many let free of charge: disabled people, children from large families and so on. A bucket of feed will cost 25 UAH. Sooner came a lot of tourists from abroad, but now there are only Ukrainians.

Reindeer food is produced only in the warm season, and in winter depend entirely on the owners

Dinner is served. The herd knows that it’s dinner time, and is built around the feeders


Antlers (in simple words, neococcinella Rog) — exactly what the deer are here and bred. Of them made a special tincture that helps in many diseases (hypotension, nervousness, lowered immunity).

Deer horns begin to cut in late July — early August. It is important to guess when they are already quite grown, but have not had time to zakostenet — then this is a valuable product. And there are just a few days: missed the right moment — and all married, they max can decorate someone’s apartment. Horns are suitable for the medication of the animal at the age of 4 to 14 years, then the structure changes and is no longer accepted. By the way, Rog summer grow with great speed — up to 4 inches a day (much of the growth depends on the food and even the weather — and if suddenly cold, the growth of the horns stops). And while deer are growing actively horns, they’re not fighting, because if you break the horn, the animal will surely die from blood loss. In the horns at this time, so the pressure of blood that, when to touch them, feel what they are hot and even pulsate.

At the time of sawing the horns of others does not allow the deer was not nervous (I wonder: white butt deer tell the relatives: “here are strangers,” and once the animals calm down — ass becomes brown). If older individuals are not afraid of anything, are boldly and are substituted their wealth under the spil, with the young can be a problem: they run and kick. After horns are sawed off, they are sent to the freezer, and then — in the Ternopil pharmaceutical factory, where they make a drug that boosts the immune system and generally promotes healing.

The cost of horns sawn me on the farm is not open: say, a trade secret. But in the “people’s pharmacies” strips antlers are from 400 UAH per 20 grams.

Holding deer on the farm, in fact, only because of the horns: meat to beat them sorry, and then say don’t do that. Reindeer skins are good for nothing: they have hollow hairs, which fall off and break. You can, of course, to vicinity, but the skin will be so expensive that it is cheaper to buy a whole jacket, the qualitatively to treat one’s skin. By the way, is not going to move even the wool of sheep that live together with the animals on the farms. It is simply thrown away: no one to do it.

Horny beauties a bit


While at the farm more appreciated by “the boys”, since they get expensive horns, but in the population there fundamentally do not interfere and do not get rid of the females. “Nature itself must all adjust. Because if there are too many males, they will simply kill each other (battle start, when the deer reach 4 years of age). One who is stronger, covers more females, making a sort of a harem — he has maybe 5-10 females. And there’s a faint deer — “eunuchs”, even the trough is not allowed. We got one Baby, he is now 21, had previously been the alpha male, and now very weak. So we feed him separately,” says Michael.

CHEERFUL COMPANY. In addition to deer, the farm is home to a dog, an old donkey and a few sheep. By the time we got one lamb as lambing time and we had the opportunity to watch the drama. The young mother had no idea what to do with born an hour ago lamb, and yelling bad voice. The kid ran and tried to drink milk (we were told that if within a couple of hours he will not go, then it will “stick” to the stomach, and he can die).

Sheep hospital. In this barn live only kids with moms

60 minutes. Full age of the crumbs

This is an adult: he was already more than a day

Fan club. Also ask for food


Quite near the reindeer farm is located another Buffalo. These animals had previously wanted to breed throughout the Soviet Union, but unfortunately (or fortunately), they have taken root only in Transcarpathia. But then they are also rare: there are only 72 of the head. Initially, animals were brought back to Ukraine to give to children in kindergartens of their nutritious milk and thus increase kids immunity (it is so fat that a calf, which at birth weigh only 7-8 kg, for a couple of weeks it grows up to 22 kg). But since animals are not caught in other regions, they were sent to the Carpathians and distributed to large families.

Over time, people started to get rid of them. The fact that Buffalo is very expensive to maintain: Buffalo eats poop two times more than the cow, and gives less milk than a goat, only half to two liters a day. But the farmer Vasiliy Shimon decided not to give this horned “good” gap, and began to raise Buffalo on their farm. She opened a little over three years, but here I go to be treated the Ukrainians — especially children who have problems with light.

Hardly go in the cage, we throw a huge animal. It is scary, and I’m planning to run away, but then interferes with their “shepherd”, the farmer Vasily: “Rosa, Carmelita, dawn, Hey!” and they are like docile cows, go to the side. However, continue to squint incredulously at the hotel. “Buffalo is a wild animal, hard to tame. But if you get used to it, it will come and even take food from the hands of” calms us Basil.
The cost of Buffalo milk is quite high. Therefore, the glass of milk is the same as a liter of cow’s, — UAH 20, and a kilo of cheese — 500 UAH. But the goods not lie: there are regular customers who buy everything.

Harsh and beautiful. Outsiders are wary

Carmelita. It is unclear whether emblazoned, or threatens

Female fight. Girls something have not divided among themselves