What to Feed Deer in Your Backyard

There’s something calming and magnificent about the sight of wild deer wandering around your property. If you’re like us and are a fan of feeding these magnificent creatures, you might be thinking of what you can feed deer that are in your backyard?

Although some might be bothered by these magnificent animals, a lot of people love the presence of deer on their property and wish to keep them returning.

What should you do to feed deer in your yard?

Deer should be fed things such as oats, special pre-made deer food mix, and legumes. These food items can be safe to deer consume and take pleasure in. 

However, you should not feed deer items such as corn and the human diet, hay, and even meat, as their digestive systems might be unable to process and pass the food.

We’ll do our best to avoid the grueling part of this guide instead we’ll leave you with the best blog on deer food and how you can feed your deer in your yard instead.

In a broad sense, deer are herbivores and the primary food source. They are known to consume nuts, plants, and fruits.

Here’s a quick ProTip!

If you’d like to see deer eating from your hands, there’s nothing more deer-friendly than Whitetail Institute Imperial Clover Deer Food available at Amazon. It’s a tasty treat that will keep them returning for more.

It is also possible to set up a Moultrie Gravity Tripod Feeder to make things easier.

Since deer are also feeders for the season and feeders, a significant portion of their diet is either not available or difficult to locate in winter. 

This is why you’ll find deer walking around your yard and that is the reason knowing what food to feed these magnificent wild animals is crucial.

That said this is all the info that you need to know what deer are fond of eating.

Is Feeding Deer a Good Idea?

Before you answer the question “What do deer prefer to eat?” it’s important to bring another issue to the table that is, is it worth feeding deer?

The positive side is that it is advisable to feed deer. This is particularly true during the winter months, as their food sources are extremely limited and they require your help.

There are some rules to follow when you plan to feed or attract deer. The issue with feeding deer comes down to two primary factors:

  • They are not providing the right food.
  • Many people are unaware the fact that Deer can be considered wild animal that need to be handled with care.

Instead of treating them as a simple animal that takes a stroll through your yard.

For instance, an employee at the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee in Maine has published an article explaining the reasons why feeding deer is risky while also urging individuals to adhere to the correct guidelines for feeding deer.

Her advice includes the following:

  • The feeding of deer can’t be an event that happens only once If you are planning to begin feeding deer that live in your area, then continue to feed them until the springtime or until they be able to find food for themselves.
  • Don’t feed deer with human meals! – It’s tempting to leave food scraps out however they aren’t healthy.
  • Do not concentrate feeding of deer in one space. – This will cause an increase in predators. It is important to remember that deer have been hunted wild!
  • Set the deer food as far as you can. If you live near an intersection, it may be best to put the deer’s food as far from the road as feasible, in order to prevent road accidents.

With this all in our minds, we can begin to understand that, while feeding deer is an ideal act to perform but the process can be very difficult.

Let’s move for a while to figure answers to the question…What do deer prefer to consume?

What do Deer Eat?

One of the primary aspects you should know about deer is that they’re classified as ‘Concentrate Selectors. This can aid you in understanding the best way to feed deer in your yard. What does this mean precisely?

Deer are a particular kind of herbivores that prefer to stretch their necks and extend their muzzles to the tree. This is the place they can locate certain parts of the leaves and plants that they enjoy the most.

This is what makes them selectors. In most cases, deer generally prefer stems and leaves since they are the most succulent.

Another thing to be aware of concerning deer is they’re contemplators. Deer, in other words, consume food fast they can but will be ruminating about it later.

They also consume food during the seasons and not because of preference, but most importantly because their diet depends on the season.

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What does the white-tailed deer consume?

Browse: The most enjoyable part of the deer’s diet is what’s known as “browse. This refers to young trees and plants that contain the stems and leaves mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Mast: The second item on the list of animals is mast. This is the name of the category comprised of acorns, nuts and other fruits are referred to as. 

They are essential to the diet of animals because they’re loaded with energy. Deer are known to follow them in the winter periods of low temperatures or when they’re growing their antlers.

If you’re looking to learn what you can feed your deer food-wise, consider fruit like mulberries, grapes and blackberries, and plums during the time that they’re in the midst of growing. 

Change to apples and pears in autumn, when animals are now trying to conserve fat for winter months.

Acorns and chestnuts: are the two most important food items for deer. Don’t try to introduce any other nuts or seeds into their diet particularly exotic ones!

Of the two, deer always prefer chestnuts due to their lesser tannin content which slows the deer’s digestion.

Grass: Contrary to popular opinion (and Disney movies) whitetails and deer generally do not really eat grass if they’ve got any of the above-mentioned food options instead.

Deer are only able to eat grass during the fawn phase of their lives, that grass is easier to digest. So, can you ever find Deer eating grass? Perhaps, but likely not if they’re offered better alternatives. It’s all about what’s available to deer at the moment.

Cereals: include oats and rye and wheat. Again, as odd as it might sound that deer do not eat cereals because they’re unable to digest cereal. But, there are some varieties of grains that have been specifically cultivated to be gentle to digest for animals and humans.

What are the best thing to feed a Deer?

There is an inventory of the things deer are fond of eating when they are out in the wild. Let’s take a look at what is the thing that draws deer and what you can provide them with whenever they are knocking at your door!

Oats: This is an easy and cost-effective supplementary food item you can give to the deer that roam your backyard. Oats contain both carbohydrates and fiber in a balanced proportion that means they’re good for deer populations.

Ready-to-eat food mixes for deer: They must include alfalfa, oats and corn, and soybeans. They also contain molasses, soybeans, in addition to vitamins and minerals. Make sure to check the labels prior to purchasing them to ensure that the ingredients listed are all included!

If you are unable to get these mixes ready-made with pellets, you could also feed a goat, horse, or rabbit food to deer. But, they must contain a minimum of 12 percent protein. Therefore, again take your time reading the labels!

Legumes: This includes black-eyed beans, soybeans, and purple hulled peas. They’re a fantastic choice for deer to eat since they are extremely simple to digest. But, be aware that they are also priced more than the typical food.

If we asked anyone what deer’s most loved food most would mention cottonseed (not as a whole, but more often as a meal or cakes). The people have been feeding cottonseed to their livestock for a number of years due to it being full of vitamins, as well as some proteins.

There are studies conducted on whitetail deer that have shown that feeding their bodies with cottonseed on a regular routine could cause adverse unwanted side effects. 

This could result in an increase in sperm count as well as an increase in the size of antlers. This is why it is advised to be cautious when feeding deer with cottonseed.

What not to feed a Deer?

  • Corn: Do not go on a corn-only diet if you intend feeding deer that live in your area. It is very acidic and could kill the microorganisms and microorganisms that the deer need for digestion of their meals.
  • Hay: As bizarre as it might sound it is among the plants that deer do not like. They are unable to digest or process the hay in any way. In fact there have been numerous instances in which deer passed out from hunger but still have Hay in their stomachs because they are unable to pass it.
  • Human food or Food Scraps From Your Table: It could be tempting, or even a method to get rid of your own garbage. However, remember that deer aren’t like animals like pigs or cows. They can’t take care of scraps.
  • Human Remains: In no way do you give them leftovers or meat on your table that contain animal products. Be sure to ask yourself, what do deer prefer to consume when they are in nature? It’s not this!

Benefits and drawbacks of feeding Deer

Since deer are the first and foremost wild animals There will always be pros and cons of feeding them or inviting them to your yard in general.

This is what each side has to say on the issue of getting deer to your property.


  • It is possible to supplement their diet during winter, when it is difficult for animals to get their own food sources.
  • The feeding of them can also help deer throughout the year as they grow or growing antlers.
  • Make sure they get the correct food source instead of relying upon unhealthy sources of food.
  • Helping the fawns get through the winter.


  • Participating with the process of natural selection may result in an overpopulation of deer that could easily go out of control in just a couple of years.
  • Once feeding begins and continues, it is impossible to stop it since the deer depend on you to provide them with a supply of food. So, it is important to ensure that you have enough money for such a large amount of deer food.
  • Deer can cause property destruction. So, be ready for this when you are welcoming deer to your property.
  • It is possible to be infected with ticks and diseases if you are in close proximity to ticks and diseases.
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Tips on Feeding Deer In Your Backyard

If you’re thinking about what deer like to eat, or you’re contemplating the idea of attracting deer to your property One of the first items that pops to mind is an established set rule that you must adhere to.

As gorgeous and beautiful as they may be, however, it’s an excellent idea to keep in mind that they’re wild animals that must be treated as they are. What are these guidelines and guidelines?

  1. Spread out food at dawn and at dusk. This is the time when deer are at their most active.
  2. It is important to provide the most food you can. If the animals you are trying to feed do not receive enough food, it could cause violence among the animals trying to get the resources.
  3. Don’t set up all the food items in one location. It’s a quick way to teach predators (such as coyotes, wolves and bears) to know where you and your deer are.
  4. If you have dogs they could transform into predators and begin hunting deer.
  5. Prepare yourself for destruction to your fences or landscaping. Deer can’t tell between your flowers and shrubs and those found out in the open.
  6. If you are able distribute the food across several locations. Deer shouldn’t spend longer than they need to as they are prone to contracting diseases.

How to Attract a Deer to Your Backyard

If you’re trying to draw deer in your backyard You could follow the advice in Snow White’s tale and start singing until deer come in.

If that does not work, here are other practical tricks to use in the event that you’re trying to find the most effective deer bait available:

Create the deer with a source of water: It could be a plastic kid swimming pool or even a natural stone birdbath. You can expect it to be damaged over time as deer are wild creatures.

This is the most effective method to attract deer as they’ll always go back to areas that has lots of water abundance. However, even if you are now aware of how to draw deer quickly, that doesn’t mean you’re safe.

The water source should be placed away from your residence as is possible, in order not to be a hazard to deer away.

Install the mineral blocks within your yard: This is the most effective way to draw deer quickly because they’ll be immediately looking to the mineral deposits they require for their growth and for a healthy lactation process.

Make sure that your backyard is quiet: The most well-known thing about deer is how cautious they are. They’re scared of anything, and loud sounds are the most frightening on this list. If you’d like to know how you can attract deer without baiting, you need to learn to ensure your garden is as tranquil and peaceful as you can.

Takedown the fences on your property: It may sound like an exaggeration, but if would like to learn how to keep deer from returning it’s a good idea.

The reason behind it is that it doesn’t really make a difference in what kind of food item you layout if they have to leap over fences that are tall to reach it. It’s not a good idea because it doesn’t resemble their natural environment.

Do not install lights that are bright: The most effective way to attract deer is to install super bright lights in the vicinity of your home or in your backyard. They’ll be afraid of lights, just as they are scared of loud sounds. Imagine a deer by the light of their head’ to understand!

Give them an ice lick of salt for them: We’ve seen the best food that can draw deer. If you’re looking to learn how to attract deer just give them salt.

The animals will be able to smell it, no matter where they travel, and will visit your yard. In addition, If you’re thinking of ways to ensure that deer don’t wander onto your property You’ve hit the jackpot. 

Because once deer discover that there’s plenty of salt on the table and they’ll keep coming to visit you.

What to Plant to Attract Deer to Your Yard?

Let’s discuss ways that are inexpensive to lure deer. The best thing is to plant for deer is that you can draw them in and feed them all at once. Here are some options for you!

Shrubbery: If you’ve got outdoor space, you may already have a shrub. If you’re thinking about what plants to plant to deer this spring, the best option is to grow all the plants that you already have.

Deer will be attracted to the free grazing that they are able to enjoy and then come over in your backyard.

Pro Tip: plant tall trees or shrubs. They can spread seeds more widely than smaller plants and will cause more natural growth.

Bluegrass as well as Fescue: If you’re wondering what else to feed your deer besides corn These grasses can be a great alternative. Yes, I know, we’ve said that deer don’t typically like grass, but it’s actually an individual thing.

If you plant these grasses, you’ll discover how to lure deer to your property within a matter of minutes, since they just love nibbling at these greens whenever they are able to. Make sure they’re free of pesticides!

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Ferns:  Deer in the backyard? It’s not a problem. You can plant ferns in shaded places and make sure they stay growing. In response, deer will continue to come to the area!

useful tidbits What are the most suitable trees to plant to attract turkeys and deer? Crabapples as well as white oak, red oak, persimmons and honey locust.

What to Feed a Baby Deer?

If you’ve ever seen the film Bambi and felt extremely sad that Bambi was left to her own devices You’ll surely be able to recall the feeling if come across a tiny deer left all alone.

If you discover a Bambi that is yours and you need to take care of it, what would you do? What are the best ways to care for it? what are you feeding a newborn deer? Let’s find out!

First, in case you’re wondering what you should refer to as a baby deer, it’s”fawn.’

The first thing to be aware of is that if you spot an individual fawn it is not a sign that it was abandoned or it is a sign that something occurred to the doe.

The fawns are usually left to their own devices however their mothers are nearby to watch. If you come across an unattended fawn, you must take it off the premises.

It is possible to monitor it for a few hours but. If you don’t notice any sign of contact with the doe, or if the fawn doesn’t feed or appears as if it’s cold you’re able to take it.

If you happen to see an unidentified fawn, avoid touching it! Does will go to any measures to eliminate all scents from their young to make sure predators don’t get attracted by them. The fawn’s touch will mark it.

I found a fawn How do I take care of It?

If you’ve watched the fawn for some time and the doe hasn’t been involved with it, then you can handle it. Be sure to use gloves and make contact with your local wildlife rehabilitation center.

What will babies consume? Goat milk is a great substitute for deer milk until you can take it back into the woods. You’ll need mix every container using a small amount lactate to get it as close to the milk they receive directly from the doe.

It is also useful for those looking for a bottle to feed a deer’s baby.

What Do You Feed a Baby Whitetail Deer?

If the baby is a newborn keep it on the lactate and milk formula. If it’s a bit older, you could add some organic oatmeal. Mix it all together until it gets to a porridge-like consistency, then serve it up to the female fawn.

How to feed a baby Deer

If the fawn is bigger in size, then you can add slices of sweet fruits like a banana or apple. The sugar content is high and will aid in their recovery.

Questions on the What Do Deer Like to Eat

Let’s play a round of lightning about what deer prefer to consume. Here is all the information to all the questions you’ve faced.

Do Deer Eat Roses?

Yes, they do. They consume the whole blooms, stems, plants leaves, and the like. Beware at night, as it is the time when they perform their dance and feast on your beautiful flowers!

Do Deer Eat Apples?

Yes they can. A large amount of sugar in apples is good for their health and helps them in the autumn season as they try to save the fat to be able to use in winter. If you’ve ever wondered what deer can eat rather than corn apple are a perfect choice!

Do Deer Eat Grass?

Only when they’re fawns since grass is more digestible. But adult deer will never decide to eat grass on their own. Therefore, you should not give them hay or grass in general.

Do Deer Eat Bread?

There is no need to worry about it. White bread can be harmful for deer as it can result in a condition known as lactosis. A small amount of bread can be fatal for deer because of the life-threatening amount of lactose. So, do not feed deer with white bread!

What Are Some Scents That Attract Deer?

The scent that draws deer most is urine from the doe. If you don’t have doe urine in your home (because… you do you need it?) Try scents such as apple and orange. They will draw deer as.

Which Plants Do Deer Eat?

As we’ve seen in the previous paragraphs deer love roses. But they also devour the dogwood, holly and juniper when they find it. So, if you’ve got the plants mentioned above in your yard be aware of deer.

Deer-proof Plants: Is That A Thing?

Deer are averse to poisonous plants like poppies, daffodils, foxgloves, and monkshood. They will also avoid eating flowers that smell very appealing such as Irises, lavender, salvia or sage.

Final Words

If you’ve reached the conclusion of this guide You’ll probably know that even knowing about the foods deer love to eat is just scratching the level of what you have to be aware of.

It is important to know the things you shouldn’t feed deer, what you should feed a newborn deer as well as how to attract deer, and many more.

Deer are complex wild animals. If you’re considering feeding deer, it’s crucial to ensure you’re feeding them the correct diet.

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