Deer in the Christmas Mist

Christine and Hervé Allain created the Auberge de Kerfulus in Cléguérec (56). Its cuisine gives pride of place to venison, produced on the farm.

“I assure you, sir, your deer are not deer. They are deer! “. Every time Hervé Allain utters the word “deer” in front of his audience of about twenty visitors, the self-proclaimed animal expert, self-assured and proud of his knowledge, repeats… “He spoiled my visit”, still laughs the breeder, but solid companion, he’s not the type to be told… “When he gets on the bus, at the time of departure, he turns around and says to me: they are deer! But…. beautiful deer! “. The honor is saved, but on this day, there will be no “until next time”… The 170 deer that romp in Kerfulus’ 30 hectares of mountain meadows are indeed deer. The visitor can discover, along a scenic route, small herds of fallow deer, wild boar, ponies, goats and llamas. But, not the shadow of a deer!

Don’t touch the little ones

In the early morning fog of late November, the herd is relatively calm. The presence of the older, less shy deer reassures the intrigued beagles and the frightened deer of the year. “The slab period is more delicate”, explains the creator. “Males in heat see me as a rival.” No question of strolling in the park in early autumn. Births take place the following summer. “It isolates itself a little to give birth in places with tall grass. They abandon their pups after the toilet, join the herd, then come back to nurse.” Predation is low; the mothers defend the young in groups and ward off the seduced foxes without difficulty. They know how to do it, the older ones have a dozen pregnancies at the counter.

Christine and Hervé Allain, at their hostel, opened in 1990
Christine and Hervé Allain, at their hostel, opened in 1990.

awesome

Males (three in the herd) are bought (or exchanged) from breeders in the West. “Inbreeding is starting to be an issue. We are not many,” she laments. The importation of individuals is prohibited, it requires health security. Every now and then, a wild adult male moves near the fences. Unfortunately, these rustics despise the bourgeois ladies of Kerfulus. No new genes in the future generation… “The noise and hustle around the farm and inn quickly drive them away. And we are not in the vicinity of the forest.” To say that deer are afraid is an understatement. The herd hardly dares to eat the hay made available to them in the shed in winter. “Raindrops on the roof are enough to scare them.” Tracking creation isn’t really complicated. The entire herd always remains in groups and consumes grass from the meadows, a mixture of clover and grass. Potato or vegetable waste produced in the neighborhood varies its menu from time to time. The daily work consists mainly of observing the animals and checking the state of the fences.

Christmas markets

At around 15-16 months, females and daguets are slaughtered. The carcasses are cut up in the farm’s laboratory. At the inn Christine cooks and Hervé provides the service. After the meal, customers are offered a free tour of the farm. Most of the meat is sold at the restaurant or sold directly on the farm. Roasts, thighs, fillets, terrines and sausages are also sold in local and year-end markets. “Christmas fairs allow us to sell but above all to promote the inn. We distribute recipes. A ham of venison is like a roast beef, not overcooked! “Some wholesalers buy whole carcasses and expand their customer base. A customer base large enough to imagine a happy continuation of the company. One of the couple’s daughters can take over when the parents retire in three or four years.

Wild deer in the forests of Brittany

Introduced to Brittany in the 1950s, the deer has experienced a sharp increase in numbers since the mid-1980s; the area occupied by the species increased from 594 ha in 1985 to 2,161 ha in 2005. Currently, 850 to 1,050 deer are present in Brittany, ie only 1% of the French population. The deer occupies the great massifs of Côtes d’Armor, where it is more present (forests of Hardouinais, Loudéac, Hunaudaye, etc.), Morbihan (forest of Lanouée, massif of Quénécan, etc.) and Ille-et-Vilaine (forest of from Paimpont). Among the large wild animals, the most present species is the deer. Since the mid-1980s, control of the harvest of this species by hunting has led to a continuous increase in their numbers. There is very little, this animal is now present throughout the region.

Contact: 02 97 39 68 99. Inn open all year, especially during the holidays,
upon reservation (individuals, family meals, business, etc.)

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