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Devon’s Oldest Deer?

Devon's oldest deer?

Owners at farm attraction Pennywell Farm, near Buckfastleigh are wondering if they might have Devon’s oldest deer as a resident.

Chris and Nicky Murray were looking through some family photographs and discovered a picture of their daughter Hetty, then aged 4 with fallow deer fawns, Bambi and Twiglet. The deer had originally come from the Powderham Estate in 1994 and were bottle fed fawns when they arrived.

While Bambi passed away several years ago, the realisation that Twiglet was still alive and well in the deer field had them doing their sums.

Chris Murray says, “We found the photograph and worked out that Twiglet must now be approaching 24 years old. We did some research and found that the oldest ever recorded fallow deer was 25. We’d love to know if is there is anyone out there with a fallow deer older than our own Twiglet, or do we indeed have Devon’s oldest deer?”

While the oldest deer in captivity made it the age of 25, it is unusual for deer in the wild to pass the age of 20.

Chris couldn’t resist recapturing the image when Hetty, now aged 27 and working as a teacher in Surrey, made a visit home a few weeks ago.

Pictured together again this summer

Pictured together again this summer

Chris explains, “When the deer first came to Pennywell, they were used to being handled and coming into the farm to meet the visitors but with the advent of foot and mouth in 2001 they were moved out into the deer field where they have lived ever since”.

A little more timid than 23 years ago but still happy to be hand fed, Twiglet is happy and healthy but the question remains, is she Devon’s oldest deer?


This story appeared on October 13, 2017

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