Browse for Fawns

Want to help us feed our growing fawns this summer?

Each spring, the Wildlife Center admits dozens of injured and orphaned fawns; these high-maintenance patients require a lot of care! As the fawns grow, they begin eating "browse"—leaves and twigs on shrubs and trees. The wildlife rehabilitation team spends a lot of time gathering browse each day; if you're local and are able to gather and donate this food, the humans and fawns at the Wildlife Center would greatly appreciate it! Please note that only trained personnel are able to care for fawns at the Wildlife Center; this request is strictly about gathering and bringing an important food source to the Wildlife Center.

To reduce the chances of transmitting pests and diseases, please only collect from Augusta, Rockingham, and Rockbridge Counties.

Although there are many trees and shrubs on which fawns browse, we have focused this list on including the six most desirable species based on edibility and nutrition. Please only collect the species below for donation. We have provided some of the most helpful characteristics for identification. All of the species listed have simple leaves.

simple and compound leaves illustrated
alternate vrs opposite leaves illustrated

Please be considerate when cutting:

  • Never cut more than 1/3 of the branches of any plant.
  • Always ask permission before browsing on private land.
  • Leave as little impact on the habitat as you can.
  • Never collect browse from trees/plants within 50 feet of a roadway, train track or other areas of exhaust or heavy chemical usage.

Our fawns need small to medium leafy branches, cut from the base of the limb. Try to deliver your branches to us as soon as you can after cutting them (no more than eight hours)—the longer they are separated from the plant, the less nutritious and delicious they are. Keep your branches out of the sun with the cut end in water to help reduce wilting.

Download this guide in PDF form here.

The following are two, non-native species of shrubs (no worry about taking too much—hack away!) that are very common.