How much do deer farmers make a year

Initially established in the 1970s as a way for farmers to maximize land for profit, deer farming is increasing in popularity. Because deer are adaptable to many different terrains, raising and breeding domesticated deer is a viable way to utilize small tracts of marginal land. There’s also a boom in consumer demand for venison as an alternative to factory-farmed meat. And for health nuts, venison has its own advantages: Like its wild counterpart, farmed venison is a lean meat high in protein and low in fat.

But the U.S. currently produces only 20 percent of the venison needed to supply its domestic markets, according to the North American Deer Farmers Association,. To fill this gap, the U.S. deer market has seen steady increases of 25 to 30 percent annually. In fact, the cervid livestock industry, which encompasses elk, reindeer, axis, sika, red, whitetail and fallow deer, is one of the fastest growing industries in rural America.

Raising a herd of deer can be more profitable than raising traditional livestock. Deer consume less fodder than cattle, are less damaging to pastures, mature more quickly, and can reproduce for up to 20 years in captivity. Farmers can produce a quality herd on a small tract of land because of the animals’ ability to adapt to multiple terrains.

How much do deer farmers make a year

Hank and Rhonda Dimuzio pose with their does and older fawns.

How much do deer farmers make a year

Ben is one of the older breeding bucks at LedgEnd Farm.

How much do deer farmers make a year

The does and fawns come in a mix of colors: rust, chocolate, nut brown, and white.

LedgEnd Farm: Home to Alternative Livestock

LedgEnd Farm in Middlebury, Vermont is home to approximately 400 fallow deer. Hank Dimuzio, farmer and founder of LedgEnd Farm, is not the typical farmer, choosing to farm in addition to his career as an emergency room physician. Dimuzio and his wife, Rhonda, decided to farm deer because he needed a type of farming that would be compatible with his lifestyle. “Deer are, in essence, a very low care animal,” says Dimuzio.

Primarily browsers and partial grazers, these fallow deer are raised for venison, and also provide a renewable crop of antler velvet, the soft skin on growing antlers popular in Asian markets and thought to provide medicinal properties.

When the Dimuzios began deer farming in 1995, fallow deer were on the decline. Turns out they stepped into the market at the right time, because the couple were able to snag good-quality animals at low prices.

At LedgEnd Farm, fallow deer are kept in four distinct groups: does and older fawns, bucks and breeding bucks (of which currently five breeding bucks are in rotation), spikers (or younger bucks), and another breed that has strong Mediterranean genes. Deer are rotated throughout the property, grazing nearly nine months of the year. Dimuzio grows crops for the herds on the other acres not being grazed.

“Silage and dry bales come off the farm; whole grain corn from my local mill for both a winter energy supplement, trace minerals for general nutrition, and, in the summer, I use corn as a way to bring the deer into the handling facilities,” says Dimuzio.

Because farm-raised deer are a livestock operation, the rules and regulations that apply to livestock like cattle, sheep and pigs, also apply to deer, including rules for handling, slaughter, product labeling and transportation. Specific to cervid livestock, farmers must also maintain herd records for specific issues: Tuberculosis, Chronic Wasting Disease, and Brucellosis. Most states also require an 8-foot-high fence enclosure (a spooked deer will try to jump a fence, but even these strong-legged bounders can’t clear 8 feet) as well as a handling area and animal control area known as a “squeeze” shoot or pen.

Dimuzio sends 120 to 125 fallow deer per year to slaughter, choosing a state-regulated facility. “The advantage of using a state-regulated slaughterhouse is that I can make a value-added product like venison sausage and keep it 100 percent venison instead of having to add beef or pork, which a federally regulated slaughterhouse would require,” says Dimuzio. “This way, I can sell pure Vermont venison sausage.”

Deer farming is a lucrative business. LedgEnd Farm sells 99 percent of its venison in-state and has direct contracts with local restaurants, with the overall customer base comprised of 50 percent restaurants and 50 percent private sales made on the farm.

Commercial deer farming is a pretty new business idea. It is very easy to raise some deer and they easily maintained. They are just like other domestic animals and it’s very easy to start and operate a deer farming business.

A deer farm is actually a good business and many different species are good for commercial production. Popular species are elk, moose, reindeer, or especially white-tailed deer are raised as livestock.

Commercial deer farming is gaining popularity mainly for it’s valuable meat, skin etc. New Zealand is the largest supplier of farm-raised venison.

Large-scale commercial farming of deer originated in New Zealand, and that country still has the world’s most advanced deer farming industry.

Deer farming business has a great opportunity for making higher profits and creating a good employment sources.

Deer is among the most beautiful wild animals of the nature. And all types of people love them, especially for their beauty and gentle nature. Depending on the species, the body of deer is very colorful.

As deer is a wild animal, so you can hardly see any deer around you.

Nowadays world population is increasing rapidly, and people are searching for some new agribusiness ideas which can ensure food security and create a sustainable and profitable income source.

Commercial deer farming business can be a part of this. Deer is a wild animal, and the population in the wild is decreasing gradually.

So by raising deer commercially, we can make a good income source and at the same time can save this animal form being extinct.

Deer products have huge demand and high value in the market. But there are some problems with this lucrative business.

Commercial deer farming business is not permitted by the Government of some countries. So before planning for starting this business, contact with your nearest wildlife service center and ask them if commercial deer farming is permitted in your country or not.

Table of Contents

    • Wild vs Domestic Deer
  • Advantages of Deer Farming Business
  • How to Start Deer Farming Business
    • Select a Good Location
    • Housing
    • Feeding
    • Breeding
    • Caring & Other Management
    • Marketing

Wild vs Domestic Deer

In the ancient time, people used to hunt animals to meetup their daily food demands (not as a hobby or for entertainment).

If they could hunt or catch few animals, they used to kill some to meetup their food demands and keep the rest inside their house for the purposes of using the animals in the future.

Since then human beings started keeping wild animals with them inside their house. Among those home bounded wild animals, some species accepted the allegiance of human beings and started breeding and living with them.

Cows, goats, sheep, buffalo, horse, donkey and different types of wild birds are most common among those wild animals.

Nowadays, deer is also considered and raised as a domestic animal in some countries around the world. Deer farming is very easy and highly profitable, especially for the high demand and rate of deer products in the local and international market.

Human beings and animals need trees and forests for surviving. As the number of forests and trees are reducing rapidly, so the suitable place for the wild animals are decreasing.

As a result, it is very important for us to raise some special species of wild animals like deer, to keep them from being extinct.

Advantages of Deer Farming Business

Commercial deer farming is very profitable like other livestock farming business. Deer meat is highly expensive than cow, buffalo, goat, sheep, duck or chicken meat.

Usually deer eat grass, leaves or grains like other livestock animals such as goat, cow or sheep. So it is very easy to feed them.

There are many good reasons for why you should start deer farming business. Here we are trying to describe about the top advantages/benefits of commercial deer farming business.

  • It’s a pretty new agribusiness, but highly profitable. You can start this business if you have enough money.
  • Deer farming is considered as a symbol of nobility in some societies around the world.
  • You can become very popular and famous in your area within a short time through raising deer.
  • Farming deer is a great source of entertainment for all aged people, especially for the kids.
  • The skin of deer is very precious. Rich people use the skin for decorating their house.
  • People make many valuable commodities using deer skin, and it has a great demand in the American and European countries.
  • The male deer produce a pair of horn every year which has a very high value.
  • Deer meat is very tasty and delicious. It has a great demand and high value throughout the would.
  • If you keep some deer inside your property, they will increase the beauty of your property.
  • You can start raising deer, if you have the experiences of raising cow, goat, sheep etc. Deer farming is very easy like goat farming.
  • Diseases are less in deer than other livestock animals. By raising deer commercially, you can make a sustainable income and employment source. Unemployed educated young people can easily start this business.
  • Return on investment ratio (ROI) is very high in this business. You will get your invested money soon.

How to Start Deer Farming Business

Starting a commercial deer farming business is just like starting any other livestock farming business. It is very easy and simple.

How much do deer farmers make a year

Even the beginners can start raising some deer. Here we are trying to describe more about starting and operating a deer farming business.

Select a Good Location

First of all, you have to select a very good location for starting your business.

Try to select a calm and noise and pollution free place for your farm. Ensure good water source in your farm.

Also ensure availability of electricity and good transportation system.


Housing is very important for commercial deer farming business. In the wild condition, deer used to live under big trees or near any grassland.

But if you want to raise them inside your property, then you have to make a comfortable and suitable house for them.

Deer usually like high and dry place for living. So make a house for them in a higher place, and try to keep the house always dry. The size of the house depends on the number of the deer you intend to raise.


Deer usually like to eat grass, leaves, corn, grain etc. like other livestock animals. Their eating habit is the same as goats, cows, sheep and other herbivorous domestic animals.

You can feed the deer grass, leaves of the tree, kitchen garbage, various types of corns or grains etc.

You can also feed them grainy feed which is very healthy for them. Along with providing nutritious feeds, ensure adequate supply of fresh and clean water according to their demand.


Like many other domestic animals, deer are naturally very good breeders. They will breed easily if you keep good ratio of male and female deer in your farm.

Caring & Other Management

Deer are very strong and hardy animals. So, they generally require less caring and other management.

Although, taking good caring is very important for proper growth and good health of the animals.

So, try to take good care of your animals. Vaccinate them timely. And always try to keep good contact with a vet in your area.


Marketing deer products is not too easy. Because commercial deer farming is not allowed in all countries. So, try to determine your marketing strategies first, before starting this business.

These are the common steps and ways for starting and operating a successful deer farming business. Hope this guide has helped you! Good luck & may God bless you!

How much is a deer worth?

Depending on who you want to believe, one deer has a dollar value somewhere between $1,250 and $2,500.

Where are most deer farms in NZ?

Industry New Zealand. Deer farming is generally located on the Southland Plains or the high country areas in northern and western Southland, as shown in Figure B17. There is a concentration of large farms in the Te Anau Basin and a large number of specialist deer properties occur in and around the Invercargill area.

Are there deer farms in the US?

Captive breeding farms raise deer and other cervids in particularly high densities for meat, antler velvet, and even for captive or canned hunting opportunities. There are thousands of these farms spread across the country – Pennsylvania and Texas alone have more than a thousand each.

Are deer farmed in Australia?

There are 196 deer farms in Australia, with most located in Victoria (35%), South Australia (24%) and New South Wales (12%). National herd size is 43,856, with red deer making up 48%, followed by fallow deer (44%), and smaller numbers of rusa, elk, sambar, chital, sika cross, hog deer and other species.