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Oecologia

, Volume 94, Issue 1, pp 57–61 | Cite as

Effects of cohort, sex, and birth date on body development of roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) fawns

  • J. M. Gaillard
  • D. Delorme
  • J. M. Jullien
Original Papers

Abstract

We investigated the effects of the year of birth (cohort effect), sex and birth date on the variations observed in birth weight and postnatal growth rate in 209 newborn fawns marked during eight consecutive fawning seasons from a highly productive roe deer population under good nutritional conditions. Roe deer exhibited a fast body development with a birth weight of 1628 g and a postnatal growth rate of 139 g/day constant over the first 20 days of their life. As previously reported for dimorphic and polygynous ungulates, there was a marked cohort effect on the rate of body development. This variability was partly explained by climatic conditions during late gestation. When fewer than 5 days with rainfall over 5 mm occurred in April, fawns were heavier. High temperatures during April and during the winter could also be involved in fast body development of roe deer fawns. Sex of fawn did not affect roe deer growth pattern. This was expected on the basis of low sexual dimorphism in size and low polygyny level characteristic of roe deer. Lastly, the date of birth did not affect the body development of roe deer fawns. High constancy of mean birth dates and high synchrony of births observed in this population could account for this result.

Key words

Growth Birth weight Cohort effect Capreolus capreolus Sexual dimorphism 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Gaillard
    • 1
  • D. Delorme
    • 2
  • J. M. Jullien
    • 2
  1. 1.URA CNRS 243, UCB Lyon 1Villeurbanne CédexFrance
  2. 2.Office National de la ChasseParisFrance

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