One of our menil colored bucks in velvet. Compare his neck girth to that of the two below who are in rut.
|Fallow deer (Dama dama dama) are from the European and Asian Mediterranean. They are known mostly for their palmate antlers, and also for their projecting Adams apple (females as well as the males), and a prominent hair shaft on the male's penile sheath.|
deer stand around 37" tall, and males weigh from 175 - 225 lbs; females
weigh 80 - 90 lbs. There are several color
variations: the original chestnut with white spots (similar to the axis);
the menil, which has a creamy tan background also with white spots; the
white fallow and the black or "chocolate" fallow, which is really a grayish
The venison trade brought in the heavier Persian or Mesopotamian fallow (Dama dama Mesopotamia) to increase body weight. But their antler size does not equal the European fallow's and does not show as much palmation.
Antler length for European fallow are considered good if they are in the upper 20", and above 29" is exceptional. The world record is 37.66". Palmation of 3.5" wide is good, but width can reach 10". There is a lot of variation in shape. Palmation is not always symmetrical and does not occur before three years of age.
Fallow prefer forests, but will graze as well as browse, and are adaptable in their feeding habits.
Social grouping is into the female herds with their young, and the bachelor herds of bucks. The bucks break up during the rut. They then chose a stand where they mark and call, but they will go off to pursue a doe for long distances. They breed in the fall, peaking in October.
The use of fallow as farmed livestock for venison is well established, going back thousands of years. Fallow meat is extremely palatable, and like most game is lower in fat and cholesterol than our traditional beef and pork.
|This buck is also a menil color, but with more white than the one above. His swollen neck shows that he is in rut, and you can still see his Adam's apple. The hair on the penile sheath is also visible.||This one's the natural color of rust with white spots. The tail markings are darker as well. He's trying to wind the does. These two are in good shape. Many rutting bucks become quite thin.|