Rare white-faced fawn, rejected by mother, finds new life at animal farm.
CEDAR SPRINGS, MI -- As Hilary Powell walks away from a small, fenced enclosure in front of her home, a week-old fawn inside begins to cry.
The high-pitched noise is incessant at first as the fawn — all legs and no taller than knee-high — moves awkwardly like a child learning to walk.
It is hard for Powell to walk away hearing the cries that make her feel like a bad mother for leaving it alone, she says.
After all, she is the only mother the white-faced fawn knows.
Born in May of this year at Deer Tracks Junction farm, the fawn, named Dragon by Powell's 19-year-old son, was unique from the start. His birth mother, "Bunny" is a special type of whitetail deer known as the Piebald, which carries a genetic defect causing it to have large areas of white in its coat. The defect reportedly occurs in less than 1 percent of the whitetail deer population.
Dragon was rejected by his mother after birth, likely by natural instinct because he looks different than other fawns. His white coloring would cause him to stand out rather than blend in when trying to hide in nature, Powell said.
Dragon spent his first few nights inside Powell's home being bottle-fed before graduating to his own small pen in her yard. Powell still handles his feedings.
Later this summer, as he grows and becomes stable, he'll join the other deer in a large fenced-in pasture area. This could happen as early as July, Powell said.
Dragon was a masculine name chosen by Powell's son because so many of the other animals have softer-sounding names. The fawn has a white face, legs and underside, blue eyes and a pink nose. He was walking right after birth, Powell said, and will grow significantly just in his first year.
Deer Tracks Junction opened in 2012 along 14 Mile Road in Cedar Springs. It's a working farm that offers educational opportunities for children and families.
The farm continues to expand. Visitors are able to walk around and in some cases feed, handle or pet animals. Powell and her husband, Kelly, have several deer, goats, mini donkeys, KuneKune pigs and more. They all have names and most will hurry over to Powell for a treat when called by name.
The farm is a challenge that keeps Hilary Powell busy year-round. But she enjoys seeing it all through the fresh eyes of visitors.
"There's all these places that people could go and they choose to come here to make memories," she said of those who stop by. "It's very humbling to be part of the memories people are making."