Antelope calves have two survival strategies: either they hide out to avoid predators or they start traveling right after birth so they can join the protection of the herd.
The majority of antelope use the hiding approach, like elands, greater kudu, roan antelope, waterbucks, klipspringers, and duikers. In some species that live in groups, the mother, called a dam, goes away from the herd to give birth, and when the calf is strong enough, she moves it to another location where there are bushes, long grasses, rocks, or a thicket to hide the youngster from predators. The dam then rejoins the herd, and the calf remains hidden and quiet. She comes back periodically to feed the calf, calling softly to it and listening for the bleat.
Between a week and a month or more, depending on the species, the calf then joins the herd and may be put with the other calves in what’s known as a nursery group. In more solitary species, the dam hides her calf and then stays nearby to guard it as she feeds, returning to nurse it when needed. When the calf is strong enough, it joins her, and they stay together until the calf is mature and heads out on its own.
In species that migrate or live in large ranges, like the hartebeest, topi, bontebok, and wildebeest, the calves are up and on their feet within a few minutes to a day or so after they are born, and they immediately start traveling with the herd. They often stick together as a group and are protected by adults surrounding them. This way they don’t get left behind and can nurse from their mothers. If danger approaches, the adults can face the challenge with their strength and their horns.