You may encounter a deer more than once in your yard, and this animal tends to be scared away easily, but what do they need in your yard? Deers invade your yard in search of food.
If you see a deer in your yard, you probably wonder what to feed it. A deer can eat certain green plants, vegetables, and even some flowers.
We have provided a comprehensive explanation of what a deer eat, the best thing to feed a deer, what not to feed a deer, and the pros and cons of feeding the deer in your yard.
What Do Deer Eat?
There are some important things to note before attempting to free a deer. The first is to know that deers are quick to eat because they are ruminants. You should also know that they are very selective eaters and will not eat human food as it is unhealthy.
They are also seasonal eaters, so you should take note of all the food they can eat to feed them properly in different seasons. Below are the food items that are edible by deers.
- Browse: this is a deer’s favorite food and its first option when a choice is given. Browse consists of stems and leaves from young and healthy trees.
- Fruits: a deer can opt for fruits during the cold season to replace their regular diet, but you should not that a deer does not eat all kinds of fruit. It will enjoy grapes, plums, blackberries, pears, and apples. They eat apples and pears to store enough fat for winter.
- Acorns and chestnuts: these are the only nuts suitable for a deer. Chestnut contains less tannin, which slows down digestion; this implies that a deer will choose chestnut over acorns.
- Grass: a natural assumption is that deers eat grass, just as seen in the movies, but the reality is that a deer will pick one of the above anytime over grasses. But you can still feed them grasses if none of these options is available.
What Is The Best Thing To Feed Deer?
While a deer will love browse, fruits, and nuts, those options may not be present in your yard. If you want to feed a deer, they are some alternative food items present in your home and yard that a deer will love.
- Oats: oats are perfect for a deer as they contain an equal carbohydrate and fibre ratio. They are less complex so that they will be digested easily.
- Legumes: this should be a deer’s favorite food item In your yard. If you have legumes like soybeans, black-eyed peas, and purple hurled peas, you can see these to a deer as it is healthy for them.
- Already made food mixes for deer: you can get some food mixes for deers in a store. These mixes must contain all or most of the following; oat, corn, soybeans, molasses, vitamins, alfalfa, and some minerals. Rabbit, hours, and goat food are alternatives, but they should have less than 12% proteins.
The best thing to feed a deer with these options is still browse. But if it is not accessible, you can choose one of these options.
What Not to Feed a Deer
While there are varieties of food a deer can eat, some materials should not be given to a deer for consumption; these materials can be harmful to their health.
- Hay: a deer cannot digest hay, making it a bad food item to feed them. There have been a few cases where deers died due to the inability to pass out hay after eating it.
- Human food or remnants: you may have considered feeding deers human food to avoid waste, but you shouldn’t. This is because they do not digest human food easily, which can be harmful.
- Animal remains: it may seem tempting, but do not feed deers the remains of other animals’ food. This is because diseases like chronic waste disease can be transmitted through contact with the infected animal’s blood, urine, faeces, and saliva.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Feeding a Deer
Spotting a deer in your yard for the first time can be quite surreal, and maybe you want to help the deer out; it is totally fine to do so. But before feeding a deer, you should know that they are clingy animals.
- Helping them with healthy food during winter when it becomes difficult to do so on their own
- Helping younger deers grow to be strong
- Ensuring that they get healthy food instead of unhealthy ones.
- Deers are clingy and will always come back for more food. This means you will have to feed these animals for a long time.
- Deer are known to cause damage to your flowers and your properties.
- Interfering with the natural process can lead to overpopulation
- You and your pets are at risk of infections associated with contact with these deers.
Tips on Feeding Deer in Your Backyard
If you are considering feeding a deer you spot in your backyard, here are some helpful tips to ensure that you stay safe.
- Set up the food at a period when deers are most active; these periods are dawn and dusk.
- Be careful not to attract predators by setting all the feed in one place.
- Spread the feed in different places to prevent the possible transmission of diseases.
- Deers can be violent when they don’t get enough food, so do your best to provide more food.
Deers are lovely animals and can sometimes be spotted in your yard. You can feed a deer If you want to, but keep in mind that they are very picky animals. The ideal food to feed a deer is browse, but you can also feed them oats, fruits, nuts, and deer mix.
Do not feed deer hay, human food, or animal remains. These foods can cause indigestion for these animals; you should also be careful when around deers to prevent possible transmissible infections.
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We trust this article helped you learn what to feed deer in your yard to attract them. You may also want to check if Deer Poop is Bad for Your Lawn.
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