If you have watched deer return to your property to eat your plants and shrubs, you may be tempted to leave some food out for them every now and again. While this can be a great idea, there are certain things you should know before you attempt to do so. Here are some tips if you want to feed deer in urban or suburban areas.
Feed Deer Specially Formulated Deer Food Mixes
While deer may be attracted to a wide variety of foods, it’s essential to feed them only specially formulated deer food mixes. Deers have specific nutritional requirements that need to be met to ensure they maintain good health. Specially formulated deer food mixes are designed to meet these nutritional requirements, as they include a balance of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Remember not to feed deer carbohydrates or fats. Corn and bread, for example, can cause digestive issues like bloating and diarrhea.
Feed Deer Only in the Winter
Deer are natural grazers and browsers, meaning they primarily eat vegetation, such as grasses, leaves, and buds. During the spring, summer, and fall months, there is a wide variety of natural food sources available. However, during the winter months, their natural food sources become scarce, and they may struggle to find enough food to survive.
In addition, during the winter months, deer need more calories to maintain their body weight and survive harsh weather conditions. Feeding them specially formulated deer food mixes during this time can help ensure they are getting the nutrients they need to survive.
Plant Trees, Shrubs, and Herbs
Planting trees and shrubs in your yard can be a great way to provide deer with a steady source of food all year round. By selecting the right types of trees and shrubs, you can create a diverse and sustainable food source for deer. You can also cut down tree branches if you’re looking for a more affordable option.
When selecting trees and shrubs to plant in your yard, choose native species. Native trees and shrubs are better adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, making them more likely to thrive and provide a sustainable food source for deer.
Like many herbivores, deer prefer a range of plant species. By selecting a variety of trees and shrubs, you can provide a diverse and sustainable food source for deer throughout the year. Consider planting a mix of fruit trees, nut trees, and shrubs that produce berries or foliage that deer can browse on.
You can also plant trees and shrubs that produce food at different times of the year. For example, plant trees and shrubs that produce fruit or nuts in the fall as well as trees that produce foliage or berries in the spring and summer.
How to Effectively Feed Deer
Here are some tips on how to set up a deer feeder on your property:
- Choose a Safe Location: Where you put your food is important. You want to choose a spot that is away from high-traffic areas or places where people frequently gather. This will help ensure that the feeder doesn’t pose a safety risk to humans while also minimizing the risk of damage to your property.
- Select the Right Type of Feeder: There are many types of feeders available, including tripod feeders, gravity feeders, and spin feeders. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Select the one that best suits your needs and the needs of the deer.
- Make it Accessible for the Deer: Place it in a location where you get heavy deer traffic and where there are easy escape routes. You also want it to be easily visible. Finally, there should be water nearby, too.
- Manage the Feed: To ensure that the deer have access to a steady source of food, manage the feed. This may include refilling the feeder regularly, keeping the feed dry and fresh, and adjusting the amount of feed based on the number of deer that visit the feeder.
- Monitor the Deer: Monitor the deer that visit your feeder to ensure that they are healthy and not suffering from any diseases or food poisoning.
Feeding deer near your home can be gratifying. However, it’s important to follow these tips to ensure that they are getting a healthy diet and aren’t becoming too dependent on your food supply. Remember, deer must still know how to fend for themselves in the wild.