What To Feed Deer In Your Backyard: Safe & Healthy Options

What To Feed Deer In Your Backyard Safe _ Healthy Options

If you are someone who is lucky enough to have deer come by your backyard, then first of all we are extremely jealous.

But, second of all – you are going to want to look after the deer. You will want to keep the deer herds coming to your backyard and you are not going to want the deer to become sick. 

Here, we are going to go over everything that you need to know about feeding these incredible creatures. There are some food options that the deer population will absolutely love – but there are also options that you should avoid.  

Here’s the thing; you might be someone who is especially keen to get deer to come into your backyard so that you can admire them and so that you can enjoy the feeding of deer.

However, we will assume that you are here because you really do not know what is best for you to be feeding them. Ultimately, you are not going to want to cause deer more harm than good if they enter your backyard. 

You might find that there is a whole lot of conflicting information out there, and this is why you are now feeling so lost and so unsure as to what you are meant to be feeding the deer that visit your backyard.

It is true that feeding deer the wrong kinds of food can really make them sick, and in the worst case scenarios this can be pretty fatal. 

So, in order to help you work out the best food to give the deer roaming around in your backyard, we have this guide which will definitely help you in making sure that you feed the deer the right food.

What Can You Feed Deer In Backyard?

You will be pleased to know that you can feed deer a lot of easily accessible  and natural foods. The truth is that most people don’t even think about it when they are trying to figure out what to feed their deer. They just grab whatever is closest at hand and hope for the best.

There are many food choices that will attract deer to your backyard. These foods include: corn, oats, apples, carrots and even sweet potatoes.  Feeding deer gives them a sense of security and this also keeps them away from trouble.

Wild deer prefer to eat a variety of plants and fresh foods, especially acorns, soybeans, oats, alfalfa, and turnip greens. When planting for deer, try to get them to eat before winter comes around, this is because deer prefer fresh produce. 

However, it is important to note that you should not feed deer corn or hay in the winter, and you also should not feed them human food or any kinds of meat produce because their digestive systems will not digest the food. It is true that these kinds of products can be fatal to deer.

Ultimately, the way that you can really work out what to feed deer is by taking into consideration the foods that they eat in the wild. It is true that deer will spend a lot of their time scavenging for a lot of different plants in order to meet their herbivore diet.

It is true that a deer’s feeding habits will actually change depending on the season, and also on the foods that they can actually track down and find. 

The foods that deer will try to find themselves are leaves, or twigs from wood plants. They will also scavenge for weeds, fresh grass, nuts and also mushrooms.

There are some specific foods that deer will gravitate towards and that they will enjoy consuming so this could be key to bear in mind when you are trying to work out what to feed deer in your backyard.

What Is Browse?

So, browse is the staple and fundamental part of a deer’s diet. You might not have ever heard of these plants before, but these plants are any kind of shrubs or just young trees which can be accessed by the deer.

You will also find that browse plants can be accessed all year round and it does not matter what the season is.

In the spring and summer you will find that the browse plants will include leaves and twigs, but in the winter this will change to twigs and stems and also the bark of plants. However, there is much more to a deer’s preferred choice of diet than just browse plants.

What To Feed Deer In Your Backyard Safe _ Healthy Options (1)
What To Feed Deer In Your Backyard Safe _ Healthy Options (1)

What Are Forbs?

It is true that forbs are plants and weeds that have pretty big leaves. It is true that forbs can be pretty visible in fields and also roadsides – or these can even be found pretty close to wooded areas. Forbs are an especially prevalent source of food for deer in the spring time and also in the summer time. 

It is true that deer will eat some grass – but this has to be at a certain condition. Deer will only eat grass when it is young and green and also succulent. It is true that deer will be able to graze on grass-like plants such as clovers and also alfalfa given that they are not especially woody.

What Is Mast?

So, it is important to note that mast is an umbrella term which refers to acorns and also nuts and fruits too. You will notice that during periods of drought or even rapid growth, they will provide especially high-energy sources of foods.

This kind of food will include fruits such as plums, blackberries or even grapes. It is important to mention that some fruits will give deer energy when they start storing fat for the colder months – these fruits are apples and pears.

That’s Right Deer Eat Mushrooms Too

You might be surprised to know that deer actually enjoy eating mushrooms, who knew?! Mushrooms are actually pretty important because they help to give deer nutrients that are missing in the everyday food that they eat. It is true that mushrooms are an especially good source of phosphorus in addition to protein.

In the spring and summer, it is true that deer will mainly eat forbs such as new grass. This will be an excellent source during the growing season; this is pretty logical because this will be what is growing in abundance.

It is true that the deer’s food will gradually alter when the winter’s season approaches so this will be stems, bark and also twigs. This is also logical because this will be the foods that are available in the wild for the deer to consume.

What Should I Feed Deer In The Backyard?

So, you are going to want to work with what you have got in your backyard and not venture too far out of the way to get more food for deer.

For example, if you live on an acreage and you really practice thinning and pruning trees then these will be the perfect foods that can be left for deer; that’s right, you can just leave those twiggy branches that you have trimmed off on the floor.

Alternatively to this you might also find that you can use oats to really gain the interest of deer. You will find that oats are especially enticing and your deer visitors will absolutely love this.

In addition to this you will also find that you can purchase ready-made deer mixes and this will just make your life so much easier. You will find that sourcing these will give deer the correct nutrients and they will also enjoy eating these too. 

You will be pleased to read about these methods of feeding because they are ultimately pretty inexpensive. The fact that deer eat lots of plants will mean that if your backyard has fresh grass then the deer will lap this up.

However, deer can also eat meat – but this is not something that is absolutely essential for you to go out and source. Deer will be able to hunt their own prey when they need to, but they will enjoy being in your backyard as long as you supply them with pretty generous natural resources to nibble on.

We recommend leaving deer to deal with their own meat consumption because they are fully capable of sourcing this themselves. It is true that deer are very fast runners, and can jump over fences – so this alone equips them with the essential skills that can really help them hunt their prey

Can I Feed Deer In My Backyard?

You can easily feed deer in your backyard, and the best way that you can do this is by making sure that the fence has a hole large enough to allow an adult deer to get inside without having to squeeze through.

What To Feed Deer In Your Backyard Safe _ Healthy Options
What To Feed Deer In Your Backyard Safe _ Healthy Options

Feeding deer in your backyard is a very different experience than visiting a petting zoo, it is a lot more relaxed and casual which is a pleasant experience for you and the deer.

Deer are wild animals that should not be approached by humans, because they do not like being harassed or bothered. Humans should not aggressively approach deer because if they get startled, they may attack. But, they will happily accept food from you if it is offered to them.

Deer are very smart animals. They know how to eat and what to avoid. They also know that they can get more food if they go farther away. You should put out enough food for them, but be careful about spreading too much.

If you want to feed deer in your backyard then you need to make sure that you follow general backyard etiquette or rules.

These include keeping your yard clean and tidy, removing any unwanted plants and shrubs, ensuring that there are no predators around, and most importantly, you should never feed deer near water sources.

In summary, you will find that gardening is the most economical method for feeding deer. Deer love fresh green growth, and you can grow it right in your yard. Vegetables are cheap, but they won’t last very long if you’re planning to feed them to deer.

Bring along a truck or other vehicle so that you can take home multiple bales of grass or hay. Deer love to eat acorns, and they’ll be happy to feast on oaks in your backyard too. You may need to trim the limbs of your trees before feeding them to deer.

In Conclusion

There is no set amount of food that you can provide for deer in your backyard. However, you should try to keep it at least 1/2 cup per day.

If you are feeding deer in your backyard, you should ensure that you are providing them with a variety of foods. This includes things like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and even meats.

When it comes to feeding deer, you really need to make sure that they have a balanced diet. A balanced diet means that they get a variety of vitamins and minerals from different sources. 

Here’s the thing, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to feed deer in your backyard, provided you have a fence big enough for them to get through.

Deer are going to need a way into your yard, so you will need to make sure the fence has a hole large enough to let them through. Additionally to this, it is important to note that you should not try to feed them by hand – this is because they may bite or kick you.

It is important to remember that deer are wild animals that are not used to being around humans, this is why humans need to respect deer’s space and this is why humans should avoid getting too close to them; this is ultimately because they might attack.

Also, it is important to understand what a deer is going to want in terms of interaction. The deer visiting your backyard can’t be treated like you would treat a pet.

They might look fairly cute and sweet, but the truth is that the deer won’t want to stay near people who try to pet them. Also, trying to pet deer might cause panic and they might retaliate.

This is why there needs to be more than one feeder placed throughout your property, just so that the deer can get their own personal space during feeding.

Overall, deer are very smart animals. They know how to eat and what to avoid. They also know that they can get more food if they go farther away.

So, if you really want deer to visit your backyard then you should put out enough food for them, but be careful about spreading too much. You will find that the deer will get comfortable and used to your backyard surroundings as long as you don’t encroach on this too much.


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