At Peel Forest Estate we have four deer sheds and a sales complex throughout the farm. The main shed, which is only a couple of years old, measures 29 x 18 metres, and is designed for maximum ease of stock handling and minimal stress on the animals, a crucial issue in a complex deer farming operation with many stud animals that have to be handled more frequently than commercial animals. As a result, all floors in the shed are surfaced with rubber matting. This should help particularly with animal welfare issues such as foot health – for example fusiformis can be a big problem here – and reduce injury when velvetting.
Recognising that velvet is a food product, particular attention has also been paid to hygiene. The shed has been designed for ease of cleaning and has high pressure hoses and walk-in freezers. The shed has also been fitted throughout with the latest EID equipment from Gallagher, which not only ensures NAIT readiness but also facilitates herd data recording. Bar code printers for labelling lab test samples will help eliminate human error and streamline handling. A custom-designed crush and an automatic electronic weighing and drafting crate has been installed by Farmquip. We also have a surgery where we conduct a large Embryo Transplant programme each year.