Fawns

Learn about the birthing of fawns, birthing locations, delivering her young, moving newborn fawns, and hiding from predators. Discover interesting facts about fawns, feeding, body scent and more.

Birthing of fawns takes place following a gestation period that averages approximately 200 days, or 6-1/2 months. They are typically born beginning in mid-May through the month of July. As the doe prepares to give birth, they become very restless. Since her preference is to be alone while giving birth, she often separates from the herd as much as two to three days prior. Many return to birthing locations they used in prior years, which are typically in thick brush or tall grass so her fawns have some protection from predators. Before delivering, she also drives away her male offspring from the previous year if they have not already separated from her.

Fawns Nursing

When the doe is ready to deliver, she may stand for a while and then sit, repeating this process until it is time for the actual delivery. When the fawns are ready to be delivered, the doe stands, allowing gravity to assist her in delivering her young. The actual delivery can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. Typically, fawns are born head-first. A doe will deliver a single fawn the first time they breed, but in following years usually have twins, and in rare instances, may have triplets. 

Doe and Newborn Fawn 

Immediately following birth, the doe licks her new fawn to clean it, which also helps to dry it out. The average weight of a newborn is between 3 and 15 pounds, the female fawns being smaller than the males. They are reddish-gray in color with several white patches that have usually disappeared by fall. When fawns are born, their eyes are open and they usually stand within a few minutes. Within just hours, they are able to walk around, although somewhat clumsily at first. Within days, they are able to run short distances.

After about thirty minutes or so the afterbirth is expelled, which the mother will eat. She does this so she can obtain the valuable nutrients needed to produce milk for her young, as well as eliminate any risk of predators finding it. The doe also moves her new fawns from the area where they were delivered to a clean area so there is less likelihood of being found by a predator. Since new fawns do not have any body scent for the first few days after they are born, this also helps to keep them from being discovered.

New fawns learn to hide within a few hours of birth. When they observe any type of movement or feel threatened, they lay flat or simply drop and remain motionless until the threat is gone. In the case of twin fawns, they hide in separate locations so a predator would not be likely to find them both. The new fawns also wait until their mother returns from feeding before going to the bathroom. The doe will eat what is voided or defecated so predators will not find the hiding spots.

The doe nurses her fawns 2 to 3 times per day. The fawns then return to their hiding spots. At 2 weeks old, they start to eat very small amounts of green plant life. Once the fawns reach one month of age, they go with the mother to eat and will consume larger amounts of green foods, but rely heavily on milk from their mother. Once they are 6 months old, they are weaned, but many will stay with their mother until the following year when it is time to deliver more fawns.