The red deer is native to Ireland and has been living here for about 10,000 years. It is a mammal. A mammal is an animal which doesn’t lay eggs and produces milk to feed it’s young. The female deer is called a stag and the female is called a hind. The baby is called a calf and is born in early June.
The red deer has a light reddish brown coat in summertime but has a darker heavier coat in Winter. The stag’s antlers begin to grow when he is about one year old. The maximum number of points a stag can have is 14 or 15. The stag’s antlers begin to grow in April so they’re ready for the mating season or the rut. The stags fight over who is the dominant male. • You can tell how old a stag is by counting the points on one antler and adding one. This is because the stag grows one new point each year and you add one because he doesn’t grow any antlers in his first year
The red deer feeds mainly on heather, grass and bracken but will eat any kind of grasses since it’s a herbivore. The calf feeds on its mother’s milk and leaves it’s mother when it is one year old.
Stags and hinds live in separate herds for most of the year. Deer in woodland live in small groups, but highland deer usually live in large herds. They move up the hillside by day to feed and shelter in the deeper heather at night.
The red deer has been hunted for its meat and for sport for many years. They are now a protected species in Ireland. Even with all these new regulations, red deer will never roam freely all over Ireland, like they did once many moons ago, ever again.
The End By Cillian Callaghan 2/5/13