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  • Writer's pictureKen Campbell

Lambs & Fawns

One of the Pasco-House sights that I miss the most is the scene of newborn and growing fawns. Every year on about the 1st of June, two or more does would drop their fawns on the island in front of our living room window. Because the fawns were reluctant to swim, the does and fawns stayed on the island as the fawns grew through the summer. If you knew where to look, you could spot them on any day; especially early in the morning or late in the afternoon. I had a front-row seat all summer long to their antics and changing behaviors as they grew and matured.

Here on the Maple Valley farm, the resident does have their fawns in the deep woods and the fawns remain hidden and out of sight as they grow. It is early August and I have not yet seen a fawn this year.

But this year, we had a substitute for fawns on the farm. One of the ewes delivered twin lambs at about the same time of year that does normally deliver fawns. i.e., early June. The lambs were born into a herd consisting of five older, mostly grown lambs, four ewes, one ram, and an old goat. Also, there were two yearling Hereford cows.

I was struck by how much the two lambs were like newborn fawns. Immediately after birth, the lambs got on their wobbly legs and followed their mom much like the fawns began life with their own moms. The lambs nursed much like the fawns nursed; flicking their tails rapidly as they pushed against their mother’s udder. The lambs learned quickly not to attempt to nurse on any ewe that was not their mother. Just as the fawns learned the same lesson – a fawn that attempted to nurse a doe that was not its mother would receive a severe beating. As they grew, the lambs began to gambol and play much as the fawns did on the Pasco island – lambs and fawns frolic in the same kind of jumping, running, and twisting around in the air routines that seemingly have no purpose other than to express their joy in being alive.

At this moment in their development, you could substitute lambs for fawns and hardly tell the difference. But it won’t be long before the lambs start looking and acting like sheep and this occurs at the stage of development when fawns start looking and acting like deer. Then, you can tell the difference.

In late June, George and Audrey saw a pair of fawns over on their place. But they see those fawns only rarely. I will let you know when I see the first fawn here at the Maple Valley farm.


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