Hey I’m Elizabeth and I am a hoof-stock keeper
here at the Baton Rouge Zoo. I’ve been here for four years. Our average day starts basically
with we come in and check in on everybody, make sure everyone’s doing good, that they’ve
eaten their food from the night before. The white tailed deer very much in a routine.
We check on them, they mainly eat first thing in the morning and late in the evening so
that’s when we feed them. We come out here check on them, give them their diets. They’re
not like horses, they don’t graze. They kind of pick and choose what they eat depending
on the time of year it can be opportunity. They eat leaves, grasses, even small twigs.
They have four chambers to their stomach, similar to a cow; so if you see them sitting
around chewing, it’s basically like a cow chewing their cud. They can pack in lots of
food all at once and then go to a safe place to digest it. Because what happens is, when
they first swallow it goes down to that first chamber then they bring it back up a little
bit at a time, they chew on it, chew on it, chew on it then swallow it again. It then
goes to the second chamber and then it goes to the third which actually filters it before
it goes to the last chamber and then it comes out. And that’s what we spend the majority
of our day doing, is picking up the final result. These guys, the white tailed deer,
can live up to 14 years in captivity. Our oldest here is Andy. He just ran in there.
He’s going to be seven years old this year. Our youngest i s Daisy. She’s four. They only
live to be about four and half years in the wild; mainly due to hunting and disease and
the fact that they get hit by traffic. Now our four white tailed deer share the yard
with four wild turkies over there. There’s two tom’s and two hen’s. We have our Sandhill
Crane over here. And all of these animals are native to North America. They also share
the yard with one of our senior bull elks, Mac. He’s actually inside in front of a fan
right now, getting all the bugs off of him. Just letting y’all know it’s really hard not
to have everybody here visiting all the animals. The animals definitely do notice a difference.
It’s very quiet, there’s nobody here looking at them and talking to them. So we come out
here while there’s no public here, we come out here and just spend extra time with them,
playing with them, talking to them. We’re spending extra time with them just to make
up for the public not being here because they do, they get used to the interaction; human
interactions. Calvin was hand raised here. He’s five years old. He is all over us all
the time. He was raised that way so he thinks he’s a people. He follows commands. See how
well trained he is.