How is Deer Antler Velvet Collected?

To be effective as a nutrient rich supplement, deer antler velvet must be collected and processed approximately midway through their growth stage, prior to their calcification. Because calcified, hardened antler does not have any blood supply, antler that is shed does not provide the nutrients desired for medicinal purposes. Therefore, the collection of deer antler velvet is usually done at the half grown stage just prior to the last budding of the main branch.

Deer antler velvet is at its optimal composition between 55 to 65 days of growth. The exact timing of deer velvet collection balances the maximum length of the branch and the minimum calcification of the lower section of the antler.

No deer are killed or harmed for deer antler velvet.

Deer antler velvet is humanely removed using local anesthesia, under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Deer antler velvet removal is a relatively quick and painless procedure designed to minimize stress for the animal. A tourniquet is placed just below the base of the antler and anesthesia is applied. The velvet antler is removed with a clean, sharp cutting instrument in less than 30 seconds.

Deer are naturally a skittish animal. But our deer are not afraid of humans. This shows that our velvet collection procedure does not cause any stress or trauma to them. The photo above shows one of our highest producing stags just two weeks after velvet removal. As you can see, the deer is perfectly relaxed and approachable by the farmer.

Deer velvet removal is considered a surgical procedure in New Zealand, and each procedure requires the monitoring and supervision of veterinarian who is a licensed and trained by the National Velvetting Standards Body (NVSB). Antler removal is performed at our government licensed facility in compliance with a strict code of practice to confirm the animals are unharmed and that essential hygiene standards are followed.

Before, during and after the procedure, our deer are visually evaluated to certify the animals are in good health. Our deer are returned to the free range, only with other de-antlered deer. Once a deer has had its antlers removed, it must be herded separately from antlered animals to prevent injury by antlered males. Antlered deer can and do injure or kill other deer. Leaving antlers on deer is dangerous to other deer and to the farmers. Therefore, removal of antlers is required on deer farms, even when deer antler velvet is not being collected.

As a whole, the New Zealand deer industry is committed to the welfare of deer during antler removal and has undertaken extensive scientific research into this subject. These research findings underpin the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Stags during the Removal of Velvet, published by the government’s Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. The Code was developed in association with the New Zealand Veterinary Association and animal welfare groups. The processing of deer antler velvet is regulated by the New Zealand governments Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) as well as the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA).

Antler Farms® deer are raised in cruelty free, humane conditions in full compliance of government regulations.

Our family owned farms are staffed by veteran farmers and certified veterinarians who practice great care to ensure that our deer antler velvet is collected ethically and humanely.


Deer antler velvet is sold on the open market primarily by weight. Low grade deer antler velvet/deer antler spray manufacturers intentionally collect their deer antler velvet at a suboptimal time to increase the weight. These companies purposely delay the collection to 70 days or longer to maximize their inventory despite the fact that the active ingredients of the deer antler velvet decreases dramatically during this time frame. In other words, our competitors willingly produce a lower quality product in order to have more product for sale.

Antler Farms® deer antler velvet is collected at the peak of potency. As the leading manufacturer of the world's best deer antler velvet products, we never take shortcuts. We raise naturally healthy, free grazing deer because only the healthiest deer will produce the finest deer antler velvet and deer antler spray. We monitor the growth of antler for each deer very closely to determine the optimal time for collection, which varies by individual animal. By putting in this additional effort, we significantly increase the strength and effectiveness of our products.

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