Kenwood Press

Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

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Living with Wildlife: 04/15/2016

Spring Fawn? Leave it alone!

Please leave them if they are not in obvious stress.

Spring. Golden poppies shimmer in the green hills among blue lupine and purple vetch. Glorious yellow daffodils scatter along the highways. Beauty abounds, and at Fawn Rescue, fawns become our focus. The exquisite fawn – child of the doe.

A tiny, four-pound fawn curls quietly under a nearby tree as it waits for the doe’s return. It is too fragile and weak to follow the doe, so she leaves it alone while she forages for the nourishing natural browse she must consume to provide rich milk for her baby.

These helpless wild young ones are picked up by concerned humans who do not understand the ways of the wild. “We have an abandoned fawn. The doe left this one alone as it disappeared into the trees with another fawn. She has not come back hours later. Why would a mother do that?” they ask. “Does never abandon their babies,” we respond. “She must separate the siblings to protect them from predators. A newborn fawn has no discernible odor. This spotted baby lies camouflaged among the weeds. The mother will return to feed it, clean it from top to bottom, move it to a clean bed, then leave once more.” Her constant presence would also attract predators. Fawns are fed three times a day. Early morning, mid-day, then again at dusk. The doe’s rich milk sustains the fawn for many, many hours. Nature’s way.

We ask that you not disturb any fawn lying peacefully and at ease. It is not ill, it is not orphaned, it is not injured. Do not pick it up, although the doe will accept her baby even though it has been touched by humans.

However, if a fawn is seen lying on its side, head thrown back, kicking, thrashing, crying, call us at 931-4550. We will come. Observe the exact location. Give us precise directions. We cannot waste valuable time searching. This baby should not be removed from where it is first observed.

But if a fawn is seen standing by the roadside, it would not be there alone. A thriving fawn soon follows the doe in search of water and lush browse. The doe is nearby although you may not see her. A deer does not have any concept that a car can kill. Do not put the fawn in your car. Pick it up, hooves facing out, and place it back off the road about 20 feet, in the shade, then leave. The doe will not appear while any predator is nearby. Yes, we are predators. The human voice, odor, touch are disturbing to all creatures of the wild. Leave them alone. Do not feed it anything. It survives only on a special natural diet. It will die if fed the wrong food. Cow’s milk can kill. We must not rob them of their wildness. We must not chase them from their resting place. Call us if in doubt. Your calls are welcome.

When a needy fawn must be rescued, we evaluate its condition, then take it to a veterinarian if necessary. Once it is stabilized we move it into one of our rural out-shelters where it is fed formula the equivalent of the doe’s milk, plus natural browse. At about four months of age, once fawns are fully weaned and their spots are gone, they no longer need us. The gate is opened to freedom. The orphans are raised as a family and remain as family.

Most fawns come into our care due to human interference (cars, fences, free-ranging dogs, etc.) Therefore, we feel a deep obligation to correct this wrong by restoring them to health and returning them to the wild where they belong.

Before 1989 there was no place for the public to call when a fawn needed help. Fawn Rescue was founded, and, because you care, we thrive. We have just begun!

Marjorie Davis is the Founder of Fawn Rescue and the president of their Board. She lives in Kenwood.

Readers may submit articles of approximately 800 words on topics of local interest for The Guest Editor column. Email Although we intend to print all submissions, we do reserve the right to refuse to publish any article.


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