Reproductive performance of farmed red deer (Cervus elaphus) in New Zealand : II. Risk factors for adult hind conception

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-51
Journal / PublicationPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 1999
Externally publishedYes


A 2-year longitudinal observational study of 15 red deer farms was carried out in New Zealand from March 1992. About 2600 adult hinds were individually monitored for reproductive success. After mating, hinds were pregnancy-tested by ultrasound and were classified as having conceived before 1 May, after 1 May or as being not pregnant. Risk factors potentially affecting the probability of conception before 1 May or of conception that year were investigated using path analysis. Final path diagrams were used to formulate a putative management strategy for farmers to achieve the desired reproductive performance from adult hinds. To achieve a high pregnancy rate early in the mating season, farmers should wean calves early, exclude hinds which failed to rear a calf to weaning and hinds with a body condition score ≤2.0 at mating, join hinds early with one or more sire stags, use only experienced sires for mating, limit the hind: stag ratio, use at least one back-up sire after the peak of mating, keep mating mobs away from disturbance and avoid shifting or handling mating mobs. The farmer should choose paddocks with high green pasture allowance and grazed down to no less than 5 cm high.

Research Area(s)

  • Deer, New Zealand, Reproductive performance

Citation Format(s)