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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Adoption of a white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, fawn by a captive doe

Published source details

Greaves T.A. & Duffy M.S. (1994) Adoption of a white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, fawn by a captive doe. The Canadian Field-Naturalist, 108, 239


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Place orphaned or abandoned wild young with captive foster parents Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 1993 in a captive facility in New Brunswick, Canada (Greaves & Duffy 1994) found that a captive white-tailed deer Odocileus virginianus adopted a wild orphaned fawn. The fawn was around one week old when rescued and was initially hand-fed. After five days, a captive white-tailed deer doe gave birth to a stillborn fawn. The following day, the orphaned fawn was placed with the doe. It was initially ignored, and hand-feeding continued. One day later, the hide of the stillborn fawn was wrapped around the orphaned fawn. The doe proceeded to lick the hide and nursed the fawn thereafter, even after the hide became detached after five hours, due to vigorous licking. The study took place in a captive research facility to which the orphaned fawn was delivered on 9 June 1993. Attachment of the hide, and adoption by the doe took place on 15 June 1993.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)