Toni Brown was out tending to the cattle on her property in Yallah, outside of Wollongong in NSW, when she came across an unusual visitor earlier.
It was an orphaned baby deer that had made itself at home with her herd of cattle.
Ms Brown quickly realised its parents had likely fallen victim to a freeway bypass that had recently been constructed in the area, resulting in the loss of habitat.
The newly-built Albion Park Rail bypass is part of an upgrade to the Princes Highway, which runs along the southeast coast of Australia.
“The deer all lived in the middle of an island between two sets of road... so to put this new road in they had to get rid of all the deer in the middle,” she explained to Yahoo News Australia.
She believes the deer’s family were ultimately killed or displaced as a result of the construction.
Deers are in plague proportions throughout most of NSW and require a licence to hunt, but the state government has been considering relaxing that requirement.
But somehow, this one baby deer managed to make its own way.
“One day I was just out doing the cattle and I came across this little deer,” Ms Brown said.
After initially fawning over how cute it was, she realised it must’ve been orphaned.
“He just adopted himself to the cows,” she laughed.
“It hung out with the calves and mums at first... every time I saw him he was laying down with them but I’m not sure if he actually fed off the mums.”
‘I call him our brother from another mother’
Six months on, the deer is still firmly embedded with its adopted cattle family, but has moved on to hanging out with the bigger adults.
“He’s just decided he’s a big boy now so has gone off with the steers,” Ms Brown said.
“Every time I do the cattle, the deer is right there with them, all the time, he never leaves.”
Even though it appears to be a female deer, Ms Brown said she keeps referring to it as a ‘he’ because “he wanted to be with the big boys”.
“I like to call him our brother from another mother,” she joked.
Amid all the sad stories of farmers doing it tough, Ms Brown shared the story of her farm’s newest member to a Facebook group used by those struggling with the current drought in hopes it would bring a smile to faces.
The post seems to have had the desired affect, attracting more than 1500 positive reactions after being posted on Tuesday night.
“Haha we have one of those hanging out with the cows and calves too,” one Facebook user said.
“That bypass has wrecked so much wildlife habitat... Great this little guy adapted,” another, also from Yallah, said.
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