British Deer Farms

& Parks Association

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BDFPA/VAS Training Day at Cassafuir Farm, Stirling

kindly hosted by Jamie and Natalie Hammond.

Report by Alan Sneddon


The recent Deer Health and Welfare and Handling Course held at Cassafuir Farm near Stirling was a a great success with a total of 16 delegates arriving on a fine morning to be welcomed with a hot cup of coffee and some of Natalie Hammond's amazing chocolate brownies!.


After tutor introductions ,a brief overview of the day ahead and the required health and safety housekeeping Jamie Hammond went on to give an outline of the deer unit at Cassafuir and where he and Natalie are in terms of stock numbers,farm development and their vision for the farm business going forward and where the deer unit sits within that .The delegates then introduced themselves round the table and it became quickly apparent that we had a very diverse group with wide ranging livestock experience,some with deer already and others who were at the very early stages of thinking about it.


The group was split down the middle into two groups of 8 with one group remaining in the "classroom" with Lockerbie Deer Vet Gareth Boyes and the other pulling their boots on to head to the deer shed with Jamie Hammond and course tutor Alan Sneddon .


In the deer shed a group of hinds and calves had been brought into a large pen early on and were very settled. The delegates were walked through the handling unit prior to any deer being there so that they could be shown the principles behind its operation and talked through how we would load the deer and complete the task of separating out calves into small groups in safety and without causing any stress. Deer were then brought through in small batches and calves seperated out and then tagged and wormed in small groups of 4-6 before being joined back with the hinds. Each delegate had a chance in turn to have hands-on with the deer in each stage of the operation with plenty of time for discussion as we worked. We also ran a few hinds through the crush so that we could explain how that method of restraint works safely for adult animals


After a welcome break for lunch the 2 groups of delegates swapped over and the morning session was repeated with the remaining deer sorted and tagged and then moved quietly back into their paddock


The day concluded late afternoon with coffee and more of Natalie's home baking followed by some lively discussion around the day's activities which the delegates seem to have clearly enjoyed.


We would like to thank Jamie and Natalie Hammond for hosting the event, Gareth Boyes for his enthusiastic delivery of the "classroom bit" and course sponsors Tornado Wire





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