Quick, easy & affordable: Four-seasons guide for deer farmers

In all four seasons, the case for supplementation arises because grass in many parts of the country is deficient in selenium and cobalt, iodine and, in some but not all places, copper. This applies whether it’s grazed fresh or conserved as hay or silage.

The functions affected by deficiencies include immunity, energy metabolism, digestive enzymes and breeding hormones. Clearly, sub-optimal function in any one of these, never mind several, is going to have an adverse effect on animal productivity and financial performance.

To make maximum use of pasture and, with copper in mind, eliminate the occurrence of swayback in calves, trace element supplementation is good business as well as affordable and easy.

At weaning, to compensate for the loss of trace elements in milk, give calves a 180-day duration Tracesure Sheep with Copper bolus for a constant trickle charge of essential trace elements.

Pre-rutting, for peak fertility, give breeding adults a 180-day duration Tracesure Cu/I Calf bolus for a constant trickle charge of essential trace elements.

Pre-turnout, give yearling calves another 180-day duration Tracesure Sheep with Copper bolus.

Pre-calving, to tune-up milk production and the reproductive tract’s muscle tone and strength, give pregnant deer another 180-day duration Tracesure Cu/I Calf bolus.

The bolus sits in the bottom of the rumen releasing essential trace elements at a constant rate. Noticeable differences reported by farmers include higher pregnancy rates, greater antler growth, and significantly higher liveweight gain in calves. Invisible advantages backed by research evidence include that selenium supplementation, for example, leads to higher levels in meat and, for the benefit of suckling calves, in milk as well.

At Hornby Castle near Bedale in North Yorkshire, livestock manager Simon Pike has several years’ experience using Tracesure boluses. “As a premium product, venison’s consistently high quality is paramount,” he says.

“Nutrition is our main priority. Get that right and you have healthy animals with good growth rates. One aspect is addressing trace element deficiencies to maximise animal and financial performance.

“Rumen boluses are an obvious choice. They’re quick and easy to give, releasing a consistent supply of trace elements to eliminate the many negatives caused by deficiencies.”