If you're reading this you might be one of those people who enjoys watching deer and would love to feed them something. Bread is a product most people usually have available, so you might be wondering 'can deer eat bread?' Let us deer farmers tell you everything you need to know about risks and benefits of feeding deer bread.
(This post was first inspired by the pandemic events, when bread was being scarce.)
In this entertainment / educational post:
Due to the ongoing pandemic and quarantine measures around the world, people have been panicking and panic-shopping.
While our deer care not for the possible shortage of toilet paper, they do object strongly to people hoarding their daily bread.
We could consider baking our own, but then we'd need much more flour than our pantry holds at the moment, and people've been cleaning that up as well.
Junkie didn't take the news lightly:
Other hinds express doubt as to the reason for the sudden abysmal introduction of a gluten-free diet:
Hopefully, there will be no run on carrots, their second favorite treat.
Deer love bread in all its shapes and forms, they will even lick bread crumbs of the ground. But that doesn't mean feeding big amounts of bread to wild animals is fine.
Wondering what other food deer might like to eat?
Read our overview post 'What do deer eat'.
Only under certain conditions, otherwise feeding deer bread can be dangerous for the animals. How come? Well, deer have this digestive system that while highly adaptable to new diets, is also quite slow in doing that. Unless deer are eased into new foods, they can become "toxic", as in cause all sorts of issues from mild gastrointestinal disorders to acidosis leading to death.
On our farm, we have a chance to control how much of which food is given. No animal gets a bunch of toasts all of a sudden. We don't just leave a pile and then only a few deer come find the spot and gorge themselves. So our animals get a bit each, and after a few weeks of slow introduction, it's safe to feed them several toasts a day each. Possibly much more but we don't have connections with bakeries so that'd be kind of pricey.
Unfortunately, deer don't understand that bread can be dangerous for them in big quantities and if given a chance they'd eat it till they explode into the stratosphere))
So while wheat and rye bread both have nutritional value and benefits for deer health, they need to be fed responsibly.
What's the nutritional content different types of bread per 100g (that's about 4 pieces of toast)?
|Nutrient||White Bread||Brown Bread||Multigrain Bread|
|Protein||9.4 g||9.3 g||9.2 g|
|Carbohydrates||49.6 g||44.1 g||46.0 g|
|- Sugars||3.2 g||3.6 g||3.3 g|
|- Dietary fiber||2.7 g||6.0 g||6.0 g|
|Fat||3.0 g||2.6 g||3.0 g|
|Sodium||404 mg||383 mg||427 mg|
|Calcium||81 mg||73 mg||79 mg|
|Iron||1.8 mg||1.8 mg||1.7 mg|
|Potassium||129 mg||186 mg||184 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.1 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.2 mg||0.3 mg||0.3 mg|
|Thiamin (B1)||0.2 mg||0.2 mg||0.2 mg|
|Riboflavin (B2)||0.1 mg||0.1 mg||0.1 mg|
|Niacin (B3)||2.5 mg||2.5 mg||2.4 mg|
|Folate (B9)||75 mcg||57 mcg||54 mcg|
|Phosphorus||123 mg||150 mg||148 mg|
|Magnesium||24 mg||47 mg||46 mg|
|Zinc||1.1 mg||1.2 mg||1.3 mg|
|Copper||0.1 mg||0.1 mg||0.1 mg|
|Manganese||0.4 mg||0.5 mg||0.5 mg|
As you can see, bread is packed with beneficial minerals, vitamins and nutrients, but above all it contains a lot of calories. While humans in our era are trying to watch their diet and avoid eating too much high calorie food, deer crave that, it's very hard to come by in their natural environment and it takes a lot of work to gain healthy weight. Weight is about survival for deer as it helps get through winter. Also aids in moving up and maintaining the pecking order in the herd. No wonder that deer are quickly hooked on this type of food.
Depending on where you live it may be illegal for you to do that.
Winter is a challenging time for deer, and a nature's way of culling the weaker herd members. (( As heartbreaking as that may be, supplemental feeding of them presents its own set of problems and according to many reputable sources can do more harm than good. Such as:
Where a few 🦌🦌 are today tomorrow can be a hundred 🦌🦌🦌🦌🦌 In deer world 'the word travels fast'. So more animals will burn their precious fat deposits hoping to come and dine at your sites. If they then arrive to an empty spot or there's only enough to feed half of them you may have made a bad situation worse;
Even if you succeed in saving more deer one winter through supplemental feeding, overpopulation of these animals does not benefit them in the end. Since you stop supplement feeding in spring, they're on their own but in bigger numbers than vegetation in the area can sustain. There will also be detrimental effect on the birds whose habitats deer eat away.
You can do this by creating and maintaining good quality deer habitat and improving food resources that will actually benefit all wildlife.
Disclosure: This website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Some of the below links are 'affiliate links', meaning, at no additional cost to you, we may earn a commission if you make a purchase.
Wondering what other foods deer love to eat? Read 'What do deer eat'.
In conclusion, deer absolutely adore bread. It helps them feel satieted sooner and gain weight quicker, but fed improperly it can lead to illness and even death of these animals. If you're thinking of feeding some bread to your local deer population, make sure you do it responsibly and carefully. Deer can rip benefits from eating bread, it is nutritious, but only if they get used to digesting it in small quantities first.
Merits of feeding deer in the winter is a whole another topic.
Last modified 28 September 2023 at 23:17
Published 20 March 2020
Thank you for leaving a comment, Judy! Pleased to know our advice have been useful to people. Deer watching is fascinating and calming.
But watch out, if you're too hospitable they might just decide to settle nearby, as long as the food keeeps coming - 🦌 keep coming.