When it comes to feeding, the question “What do deer eat“ is interesting as they eat anything. However, their usual diet consists of vegetation since they are basically a herbivore. That being said, if you are planning on feeding the deer on your property or at the wild life park near your home, then you may want to review the list below to get a better idea of what deer usually love to masticate on.
1. Deer do not eat all plants
Contrary to public perception, a deer does not consume anything that looks green and smells green. A deer is not a cow and as such, they have stricter dietary requirements than a cow. The fact that deer’s rumen is much smaller than that of a cow, by nearly 96% means that they would have to source food every few hours.
In other words, deer specialize in tracking down select plants and eating fresh shoots and vary their diet seasonally. Doing so, ensures that they have access to prime green shoots along with nuts, berries and other assorted flora to supplement their regular diet.
2. Small plants and shrubs:
One of the mainstays of a deer’s diet happens to be the small shrubs and plants, including certain weeds like forbs. Their digestive system can digest the same easily and it provides their body with the required vitamins and minerals. But when winter rolls around and small shrubs become harder to locate, they often snack on young bark, fruits, berries and even fungi.
3. Acorns, nuts and berries:
Deer love snacking on acorns, berries and fruits as this can enable them to enjoy a high energy diet. A deer will usually pick a chestnut over an acorn since the later has more tannin which can aggravate the deer’s stomach lining. But in general, they prefer to consume nuts by the bushel since it provides them with a diet that’s rich in carbohydrates and minerals.
4. Seasons matter:
Most deer tend to bulk up during the summer for the long haul during winter; this is not to mean that they do not eat during winter but just that given the seasonal changes and temperature variance, their diet undergoes a change, from young leaves to tree bark, twigs, berries, and nuts. Moreover, since winter is usually the rutting time for all deer, they would need to have access to a high-energy diet and the nuts, barks of specific plants provides them with the same.
5. Keeping It Straight
Usually, most deer prefer dogwood, wild crabapple and dog food to snack on along with other plant variants. You may additionally want to check with your wildlife department in your area for specific advice and suggestions. And additionally deer cannot handle corn so do not feed your deer with the same since it can aggravate their digestive system.
These are some of the things that a deer would love to consume so the next time you catch a deer on your property, you would know what to feed it and how much to feed it.