Deer Park

Deer Breeding In Pedu

The Muda Agricultural Development Authority (MADA) started implementing the deer breeding project at the Pedu Dam in an area of 2.6 hectares in 1994. Ten paddocks for the growing of grass were prepared from this area. The deer bred were allowed to graze on the grass planted following each paddock’s turn as well as given additional food pellets.

 

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Deer belongs to the Cervidae family and they can be found almost anywhere around the world – Europe, North and South America, as well as a large part of Asia.

The two main objectives of this project are to make the area in Pedu an additional attraction to visitors and tourists and as a place for learning, research and observations, especially by students.

Deer Species

At the beginning of this project, 10 deer of the Cervus timorensis species were placed in the area. The deer were obtained from the Veterinary Breeding Centre, Veterinary Services Department at Behrang Ulu, Perak. Later in 1997, four sika deer (Cervus nippon) were purchased from a private deer farm in Gunung Jerai and after that, at the end of 2001, a samba deer (Cervus unicolor) was purchased from Malacca Zoo.

 

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From records, there are 40 deer families known today, including a number of sub-species. The species bred come from the species Red Deer (Cervus elapus), Wapiti or Elk, Fallow Deer (Dama-dama), sika deer (Cervus nippon), chital deer (Axis-axis). The most widely bred species is eastern deer (Cervus timorensis). In Malaysia, there is a wild deer known as the sambar deer (Cervus unicolor) which is a protected species because of its decreasing population.

Area Preparation

Area Fencing

18 Fencing of the breeding area requires the use of “cyclone tight lock” fencing which is 6 feet high. Above the fence is added two layers of plain wire to increase the height of the fence to 8 feet. Several paddocks have to be built for the breeding area to ease the breeding management and control the grass that is planted as the deer’s main food. As a consequence, the deer will be moved from one paddock to another whenever the grass in the paddock concerned has been reduced to an ungrazable level. This will guarantee grass re-growth and ease of management.

Land Preparation

After the fencing work is completed, land rotovation is carried out to sow the grass seeds. After the first rotovation, “Christmas Island Rock Phosphate” (CIRP), and “Muriate of Potash” (MOP) are applied. The rates for CIRP is 375 kg per hectare and MOP is 75 kg per hectare. Then the 2nd rotovation is carried out to mix the fertilisers with the soil.

 

Sowing Grass Seeds

The grasses proposed to be planted for deer breeding are mixed varieties of “guinea grass” (Panicum maximum) and “green panic” (Brachiaria decumbens and Brachiaria humidicola). The sowing rate is between 8 to 10 kg per hectare. Brachiaria decumbens and Brachiaria humidicola have the capability of withstanding grazing by the deer, re-grow fast after the deer is removed from the paddock. They do not require much care and are creeping varieties which can cover the entire planted area fully.

Fertilisation

The recommended fertilisation for pasture grass per year is:

 

Urea (N) = 375 kg per hectare
Rock Phosphate (P) = 375 kg per hectare
Muriate of Potash (K) = 75 kg per hectare

 

Urea fertiliser is usually applied 4 to 6 times a year. Tests on the grasses should be carried out to determine the nitrogen content. The N content in grasses should not exceed 15%. High N content can result in the deer having stomach problems or diarrhea. Rock phosphate is usually applied twice a year while muriate of potash only requires to be applied once a year.

 

Deer Care

Eastern deer (Cervus timorensis) has been found to adapt itself quickly to the climate in Malaysia compared to other species. Research by the Veterinary Services Department has found that its antibodies are very strong such that it does not need preventive vaccinations. Deer breeding on a large scale is more profitable because it has been found that a worker can take care of 300 to 500 deer. But several important matters from various aspects should be looked at for deer breeding such as pasture management, pathology, reproduction and also selection of deer farmers who are really interested. (New Straits Times 3/3/95 – “Lifestyle – The healthy alternative”)

Feed

The deer is a herbivorous animal which is categorised as an animal with a very efficient food metabolism system. The deer’s eating routine is simple because other than being given grass to eat or free grazing, it can also be given additional food such as food pellets mixed with multi-vitamins. Other plant leaves can be given as food through the cut and carry system such as petai belalang (Pithecellobium spp.), tuber crops, Acacia, Hibiscus, jackfruit, cempedak, lundai and fig. Other foods are bread, bananas and papaya.

Breeding

Deer breeding activities are very active because a deer is ready to mate when it reaches the age of 18 to 20 months. A stag is capable of impregnating approximately 20 to 25 doe in one mating period with a 70% birth rate. Studies have shown that 4 stags can successfully impregnate 100 doe resulting in 77 births. (Utusan Malaysia – Deer is easy to breed, resistant to diseases)

A doe is mature when it reaches the age of 18 to 20 months whereas a stag matures when it reaches the age of 2 to 3 years. The menstrual cycle for eastern deer is 18.3 days and the gestation period is 235 days. Usually a doe delivers a single birth and the occurrence of twin births seldom occur. (Mutakhir UUM pamphlet, Vol. 9 No. 3 – 18/2/95)

Venison

Venison (deer meat) is regarded as a nutritious food with high protein, low fat, low cholesterol and offer a new taste.

Venison prices in the market vary from RM28 to RM30 per kg but before eastern deer was bred in Malaysia, the price of imported venison from Fallow Deer was between RM40 to RM50 per kg. The price then was very high compared to beef prices and this caused venison to receive a poor reception even though its nutritional properties were better than beef.