Three ginger-haired dotted little fawn were born a couple of days ago in the Budakeszi Wildlife Park. The first one to be born was the offspring of Szőke (Blonde in Hungarian), the special white buck and a black hind, whose colour is also very rare among fallow deer. The reddish little baby was followed by two other bucks a couple of days later, so the total population of fallow deer has grown to a dozen. In the Budakeszi Wildlife Park, specialized in presenting species indigenous or introduced to the Carpathian Basin, visitors can see all three colour variations of fallow deer: they can see dark-haired hinds and prickets – young bucks -, “traditionally” ginger-haired fallow deer with with dotting, and special, white-haired fallow deer too. Szőke, one of the most beautiful and games of the wildlife park just celebrated its 4th birthday. Szőke is a true star among the dwellers of the wildlife park for reason, as white colour variation is extremely rare among fallow deer; only 1 percent of the Hungarian fallow deer population sports white hair. The fact that the buck is not an albino – that is his eyes and legs are pigmented – makes him even more special. Although fawns try to hide their newborns with special care in the first days, persistent visitors can catch a glimpse of the “firstborn” of Szőke as well as the other two fallow deer fawns in the exhibits.
Fallow deer population growth came as no surprise to the keepers, as the mating period of fallow deer happens between October and November. Gestation period is about 7 and a half months depending on the age of the hind, so fawns are usually born between the end of May and the beginning of June. Fawns start to follow their mother as early as three weeks after their birth, and although they feed on mother’s milk in the first two months, they change to a high-fiber vegetarian diet after the appearance of their molar teeth. Bucks and fawns become fertile at the age of 17 months, but the growth of their body stops only by the age of 3 years in case of fawns, and the age of 6 in case of bucks. Young bucks – or prickets – start growing antlers from the age of 6 months – initially those are more like straight, unbranched horns – and they start to learn their full antlers after the age of 10.