Posted by: 347bennetrd | November 21, 2010

Velvetting the Stags

Dad no longer has 200 or so velvetting stags – he only has 12 breeding stags, and they have to be velvetted at about this time of the year.  Velvet is the name for the antlers when they are still soft and full of blood.  As the cycle progresses, the antlers gradually harden and the soft outer covering gets stripped away by fighting and scratching, leaving the white, pointy, calcified antlers we usually see on wild stags.

Here we’ve brought the stags into the deer yards and have put two of them into the crush so Dad can easily reach them to administer a general anaesthetic.

It’s hard to convey the impressive size of these animals with a photo, but they can be so intimidating – especially the wapiti stags.  You can see Dad at the back, he’s preparing to inject them through the gap.  (I’m not in the pen with them!  I’m looking through a similar gap…).  You can also see they’re moulting, losing their winter coat.

So, once they finished grinding their teeth to show their aggression, and lolling their tongues out the side of their mouths (also to show aggression) they gradually became more and more drowsy until they awkwardly sank to the ground and were asleep.  We applied a tourniquet around the base of the antlers, injected a local anaesthetic and away we went removing the antlers.  Then, we remove the tourniquet, give them a reversal injection to wake them up and Bob’s your uncle!!

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Responses

  1. It must be known to all readers that I played a MAJOR role ensuring the successful task of velvetting these mighty beasts and that was to stand quietly behind a gate, making sure of course not to startle these rather wild, scared, untame ‘things’..it was a role that one had to be allocated and I was first to raise my right arm accepting this task, a task that I (humbly speaking) excelled in….


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