Deer Gives Birth To Twins But When Mom Realizes One Has Rare Condition She Rejects Him To Care For Himself
Apr 19, 2021 by apost team
A young white-faced fawn with a rare condition gets a new chance at life on a farm in Michigan. Dragon, born back in 2015 at Deer Tracks Junction in Cedar Springs, was rescued after his mother rejected him due to a genetic anomaly called piebald. Dragon was then raised by Kelley and Hilary Powell who own and operate the farm.
Dragon’s name was chosen by the Powell’s son, who said that the fawn would need a strong name to help him with his journey ahead. Little Dragon is so beloved by anyone that comes in contact with him. His sweet face and beautiful blue eyes certainly draw a lot of attention. His new adopted family takes great care of Dragon, he’s one lucky deer.
Dragon’s mother, another whitetail deer with piebald named Bunny, gave birth to twins on the farm where she also lives. Only one of the twins has the condition, the other fawn was born completely normal. Bunny rejected Dragon and even tried to harm him until the Powells intervened to protect the fawn.
Hilary explains saying, “The white makes him stand out so he can’t hide from predators, and he can’t hear or see as well as a regular deer, so he can’t hear or see predators coming. She had a brown fawn at the same time and is raising him fine." It seems like instinct can be extremely powerful and the mother deer should not be looked down on for her actions, as she takes great care of her other offspring.
Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video :-)
Piebaldism is a rare genetic anomaly that is commonly confused with albinism. It causes a lack of pigment in the skin, hair, and antlers of the deer affected, to varying degrees dependent on the deer. In the video, Kelley explains that Dragon will have pink antlers when they come in. They know this because the skin on Dragon’s nose is pink as well.
Dragon’s pink nose and white complexion means that he is also more susceptible to sunburns than other deer, as well as a whole other list of health conditions. According to the Deer Association, piebaldism can cause a number of deformities and affects the immune system, skeletal alignment, and leg and hoof growth. This is why it is instinctual for mothers to reject their fawns born with birth defects, to increase their own chances of survival.
In the wild piebaldism is very rare, affecting less than 2% of the population. However, since Dragon’s mother also has the condition there was a much higher chance for at least one of her offspring to inherit the anomaly. Hilary explains it this way, “He came from a piebald, so she (the mother deer) had a 50-50 shot of having another piebald. So, it’s not as rare, but in the wild it is.”
Despite the odds, many deer with piebaldism live full lives. In Dragon’s case, he required extra attention from when he was first born. Kelley says that they had to feed Dragon four times a day and administer vitamins to try and boost his immune system.
Deer Tracks Junction is a fully operational farm that offers wildlife tours and educational experiences for both children and adults. They don’t just have deer, there are also pigs, goats, donkeys, bunnies, camels, alpacas, Tibetan yaks, and more.
Hilary told The Oregonian, "There's all these places that people could go and they choose to come here to make memories. It's very humbling to be part of the memories people are making." The farm is a great place to bring kids, especially if they love homemade ice cream while visiting the animals. It is wonderful to see a family-run operation doing so well and bringing joy to others.
In 2020 they announced they will be having baby bears you can go see on the farm soon, once the farm is fully open again– which will hopefully be later this year. You can even feed some of the animals. They also have a Fun Barn filled with activities for children like tunnels, nets to climb, and a sandbox. It certainly seems like a great place to bring your family on a nice afternoon.
Dragon is one special fawn, and we aren’t just referring to his rare condition. He is sweet, adorable, and has gained a lot of popularity since he was first introduced to the world. His story also spreads helpful information about deer with piebaldism and the challenges that they face.
We found Dragon’s story of survival very touching. Were you moved by his story? Have you ever seen a piebald deer? Let us know your thoughts and be sure to pass this along to your friends and family.