What to Feed Deer: Know What They Love

Deer may surprise you when you look out to see one in your yard. They may eat vegetables, plants, and flowers that are properly cultivated and well-tended. It may be annoying, but there might come a time you will welcome them in your yard, either to photograph them, or simply sit back and observe them. But how do you keep them from eating your vegetables and plants? What to feed deer?

These animals are not picky eaters; they eat what is readily available in their environment. But it does not mean that they necessarily love what they eat. Therefore, why do they eat your well- cultivated vegetables and plants? Let us find out in this article.

So, you have decided to entice them into your yard. What do they eat, their feeding times and which kinds of food do they like?

What to Feed Deer

The white-tailed species is the most common in the wild. These animals are herbivores, and they browse during the night and eat almost any plant that they come across. To give you an idea of their behavior, they also avoid staying long in one spot as a survival measure.

In fact, as is to be expected, they eat fast and eat anything they can find in a specific spot. After that, they quickly move to the next spot once they’re done in one location.

To help figure out what to give them, the typical foods that they eat are grass, nuts, alfalfa, fungi, fruit, and corn. They also eat wild crab apples, clover, leaves, sedges, and sumac foliage.

Seasons change and the plants available in the summer may not be available in the winter. During the winter, these animals find it difficult to find plants in their usual diet. Therefore, they eat mostly bamboo shoots, bark, and buds during these times. During the summer season, they eat nuts, corn, and greens.

Formulated Food Mix

During the winter, it’s important to know what to feed deer because you might want to give them food yourself. This is because it is difficult for them to find food at this time of the year. In fact, you may give them new types of food that they do not usually eat.

These types of food are formulated food mixes which are a combination of oats, alfalfa, molasses, soybeans, and minerals and vitamins. This kind of food is easy to digest, which makes it safe for complementary feeding.

However, formulated food mixes should be slowly introduced; this means that you need to help them adjust to this new kind of food. Gradually include this food mix with their natural diet.

It takes these animals 2-4 weeks to fully adjust on the new food mixes. You might also want to add food mix all year long so they will always be adjusted to the supplemental diet.

Feeder Kits

These kinds of devices are also useful. To help you out, some examples of good feeder kits are the Moultrie Pro Hunter Quick Lock Feeder Kit, the Moultrie Classic Tripod, JKL Outdoors Spyder Feeder Attachment, and more.

These kinds of devices have auto-lock features that prevent wasted food, and timers that control the amount of food that they eat in a specific period of time. These are a few features that help you save money on giving food to these animals.

Important Note: What Not to Give Them

Even though they are not picky eaters, there are some kinds of food that are not good for them. This is helpful knowledge when it comes to what to feed deer.

One of these foods is corn, which is one of the worst kinds of food for these kinds of animals. This is because when they are fed corn, their complex digestive system cannot digest the carbohydrates, which could cause them to get seriously sick or even die.

Instead of corn, give them tree branches. They munch on twigs, leaves, and other forest vegetation. You may also give them oats because they have a good combination of carbohydrates and fiber that is safe for their digestive system. In addition, you may also give them fruit and vegetables.

Favorite Foods

As stated earlier, these animals are not picky eaters. But they have their favorite foods too. These kinds of food are not always available to them. They love nuts such as beechnuts acorns, pecans, and hickory nuts, and fruits such as persimmons, blueberries, blackberries, and apples. Unfortunately for homeowners, these animals also love vegetables, flowers, and ornamental trees and shrubs.

However, if you know what to do, you can avoid the destruction of your crops or your garden. This knowledge will also help you give them proper food to help them survive, especially during the cold, winter season.


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