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When do Deer Give Birth? (Birthing Season for Each Breed)

Deer only mate once per year with mating seasons varying from place to place. Mating season is also different for different deer species. 

Fawn with mother

Deer generally give birth between April and July each year. The greatest number of deer babies are born in the wild in June. The birth cycles happen each year at the same period.

Most deer give birth to between one to three babies at one time. 

When Do Different Species of Deer Give Birth?

The following table is a general guide for deer in North America.

Type of DeerMating SeasonAprox. Gestation PeriodBirthing SeasonNumber of Young
White Tailed DeerOctober to December180 daysApril to July1 to 3
ElkSeptember to October240 daysMay to June1
MooseMay to June240 daysMay to June1
CaribouOctober to November240 daysMay to June1 to 2

The time during which deer give birth to their babies varies between deer species and location. Listed below are some of the different deer species and the time during which they give birth:

  • White-Tailed Deer– their mating season lasts from October to December. Female deer usually give birth to 1 – 3 babies after mating. It takes six months for the baby to fully develop after fertilization. They usually have their babies from between April and July.
  • Elk– their mating season is between September and October. Cow gestation period is between 240 to 262 days after which it gives birth to only one calf. Calves are born between May and June. 
  • Moose– mating seasons begins in early fall after which they give birth from mid-May to early June. Females give birth to only one calf at a time. Their gestation period is 243 days.
  • Caribou-they begin mating from between October and November. The female’s gestation period is usually between 7 to 8 months when they give birth one or two calves in late spring.

Read More: Deer vs Elk vs Moose vs Caribou

How many Times can a Deer Give Birth in a Year?

Female deer can get pregnant once a year. Depending on the species of deer, females can have one to three babies at once.

Deer mate only once per year. Their mating seasons vary depending on where the deer lives. Various factors affect the time mating season begins and ends. These include the length of day and weather conditions. 

The length of the mating season also varies yearly. Deer mate according to the seasons. The mating season is most likely to end early if winter comes earlier than expected. 

When are Deer Ready to Mate?

Male deer antlers are usually completely developed as mating season approaches. They break away from the groups they used to live in and become solitary.

Fights are also frequent with each male fighting for dominance and the right to mate.

Female deer also act differently during mating season. They call on to males when in heat. The animals also become less cautious and make more noise than usual.

Deer fawn in long grass
Deer mate in late Autumn and their fawns are born in late Spring.

What Physical Changes do Deer Experience when Pregnant?

Deer experience similar body changes to other mammals when pregnant.

During rut, a female in heat calls on to males to mate with her. Often than not, more than one male will be attracted top her calls and will end up fighting for the right to mate.

She then mates with the winner of the fight.

After mating, the female’s egg is fertilized. The female’s body during heat is usually prepared beforehand to accommodate the fertilised eggs which stich to it. That is when the baby begins developing.

After about two to three months the baby has reached a reasonable size and the deer appears to have a full stomach. The size increases over time as the foetus gets bigger. 

The deer also separates from the herd and starts feeding on its own. It does this while looking for an appropriate place to give birth. The female also stops producing scents it used to attract bucks during rut. 

How do Female Deer Prepare to Give Birth?

Deer prefer giving birth in meadows. This is because of the excellent cover it offers especially those with tall grasses. Deer separate themselves from the rest of the herd to find a safe place to hide to give birth.

When giving birth, the deer alternates from standing and laying down. This is to allow gravity to help pull the baby out of its body.

Once the baby is born the deer hides it in the same meadow to prevent it from being discovered by predators.

It is important to note that deer are most likely to return to the same meadow year after year to give birth to their young. This is especially the case if the deer does not experience any kind of disturbance when fawning. 

Read More: Do Deer Feel Pain When Giving Birth?

Deer ears
Deer separate themselves from the herd before they give birth

What do Deer do After Giving Birth?

Without including looking for a safe place to give birth, doe take several other precautions to ensure the survival of its baby.

During the first months after birth, the fawn appears to be weak; hence their mother takes the responsibility of feeding it until it becomes strong.

The fawn is more vulnerable to dangers. Thus, it is often hidden in the vegetation the mother feeds. The mother returns during the dawn and dusk to regularly feed the fawn.

When the fawn is born, the doe uses its tongue to lick the fawn, hiding the scent that might alert the predators when the fawn is in hiding.

In addition, the doe might also devour the fawn’s droppings to hide the evidence of its presence.

The doe also eats the afterbirth and any other membranes that might have come out with the baby. The cleaning is so thorough to the extent of the doe feeding on bloody leaves around the birth area. This is to prevent any scents from attracting predators and insects.

Conclusion

Deer generally mate in late fall and early winter then give birth in spring. Deer do not have large litters. They usually only have one to three fauns at a time.

The birthing period is the most vulnerable period for the baby and the mother. They try to find a quiet spot to give birth where predators will be least likely to approach them.

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