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Fallow Deer (Fia BuŪ) --: The fallow deer is the most common deer in Ireland. His summer coat is chestnut coloured with white spots on his side. His winter coat is greyish-brown without spots. There are three types of fallow deer in the Phoenix Park in Dublin, the common, the black and the menil. The Phoenix Park is one of the largest public parks in Europe and is in Dublin. The Dublin Zoo is also in the Phoenix Park. They have no natural enemies in Ireland. Their antlers grow in the same as those of the red and sika deer. Fallow deer are not native to Ireland. The Normanís brought them in in the 13th century. They can now be found in most counties in Ireland, though there are special herds in Dublin and in Killarney National Park. Fallow deer eat grass and herbs and also like to eat the bark of old trees. It is smaller than the red deer and larger than the Japanese sika deer. The mating season starts in October and lasts one month. A male deer is called a buck and a female deer is called a doe and a baby deer is called a calf or fawn. The meat of deer is called venison. 

The buck marks his territory where there are plenty of female   deer. He marks his territory by stripping the bark of trees and digging holes  in the ground. He also leaves his smell around the edge of his area.  In the mating season (called a rut) the buck makes a low moaning sound groaning sound. The young are born in June or July. The baby deer is able to run around the place a few hours after been born. We have to wait until we are two or three years old before we can do that. They hide in the vegetation so foxes or dogs canít see them. They soon get strong enough to run with their mother and the rest of the herd.

A baby calf stays with it mothers for protection for one year. A fallow deer can do a lot of damage to young trees, especially if there are a lot of trees in a forest. The antlers of the buck (male) start to grow in May of the second year and are finished by August. The buck  cast their antlers each year in May and starts to grow new ones. Fallow deer antlers do not have top points like Sika and Red deer, but have instead a flat, palm shaped top, which is an easy way to recognise them. While the antlers are growing they are covered with hairy skin or velvet, which contain blood vessels. While they are growing the deer has to be very careful to protect his antlers from damage as they can bleed easily. If he cuts himself the antlers bleed and flies come around him, which drives him mad. In the autumn, when the antlers stop growing, this velvet skin is no longer useful. Then the deer removes it by rubbing the antlers against some nearby trees or shrubs. This rubbing of his antlers against the trees is why causes damage to the trees and thus is why the men in charge of the forests get mad with the deer. 

Their numbers of Fallow deerhave to be controlled so they canít do a lot of damage to trees. This is done by organising regular hunting trips under licence. This way their numbers do not get too high. 

The deer are protected under the Wildlife Act of 1976.

Stephen OíBrien

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