Stories from Around the Estate...
In 1860 Japanese Sika Deer where brought to Colebrooke Park by Sir Victor Brooke. Now, approximately three hundred deer can be found across the estate. They are regularly seen and heard across the Park and local countryside. Sika deer vary in colour depending on the time of year. In April they shed their heavy winter coats, which tend to be dark grey/black in colour, to reveal pale brown/red coats with noticeable white spots. There is often a distinct dark coloured dorsal stripe running the length of the back and they have a short tail and a distinctive white rump.
Whilst the deer are a menace to the garden (especially the fruit trees) they are commonly seen grazing around the park and looking longingly over the gate into the Walled Garden. The hinds (females) are getting ready to calf in May, having carried a calf for 7 ½ months. Calves when born, have no smell, to help avoid getting eaten by predators such as foxes. Mothers will leave the calf unattended during the day and then return to it in the evening. The stags (males) have shed their antlers, and are now re-growing them, to be ready for the rutting season in Autumn.
Throughout spring and summer, stags will be rare to see as they let their velvety antlers develop. Sika deer are renowned for their repertoire of calls including clacking noises, whistles, and screams, they have a huge variety of vocalisations to communicate with one another.
Robyn Livingstone, Brooke House