Deer farms for the production of oriental medicines have been in existence for a century or more in China. Little is known about the efficiency of these enterprises in their early days but the farming of various species has persisted and husbandry techniques are constantly being improved.
In other parts of the world deer farming is a rapidly expanding industry; it is developing so fast, in fact, that it is difficult to obtain a complete and accurate picture of exactly where various farms are located or how well they are managed. The following information is therefore incomplete.
There are no doubt more red deer kept on deer farms than any other species and probably New Zealand produces the largest number to-day. These deer are also farmed in the USSR, Australia, Republic of Korea, People's Republic of China, Austria, United Kingdom and Federal Republic of Germany.
Next to red deer, reindeer are probably most commonly farmed. In contrast to red deer, however, reindeer are not confined in their movements by boundary fences, but allowed to range freely in search of the necessary food supplies. Generally the herdsmen follow the movements of the herd throughout the year, or at least through part of the year. Reindeer are farmed in the USSR, the USA (Alaska), Canada, Norway, Sweden and Finland.
Wapiti are farmed mainly in the USSR, Mongolian People's Republic, Republic of Korea and People's Republic of China. A small number, partly hybridized with red deer, is now being farmed in New Zealand.
Countries where sika deer are widely farmed include People's Republic of China, Republic of Korea, USSR and Japan. Small numbers are farmed in New Zealand.
Rusa deer are farmed in Mauritius and Australia and are being experimentally farmed in Papua New Guinea.
Although fallow deer are the commonest species in deer parks throughout the world, they are only farmed in large numbers in New Zealand and to a limited extent in Federal Republic of Germany and Australia.
Musk deer are intensively farmed in large numbers in People's Republic of China. They are also farmed in the USSR and experimentally in the Republic of Korea, Nepal and Bhutan. China is the world's leading producer.