In this entertainment / educational post:
Due to the ongoing pandemic and quarantine measures around the world, people are 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.
Junkie didn't take the news lightly:
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.
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. Guess what? You may have a beer fridge, we've got a deer fridge:
The rest of the carrot is in the shed. Still, our deer would like to ask fellow New Zealanders to chill and leave more bread on the shelves. :)
Deer eating bread and competing for it
In the following video, you can see for yourself how deerly the deer do love bread.
Should you feed wild deer bread?
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:
- introducing improper food. Corn, bread will be eaten by deer but can kill them. Small amounts are fine, but if one leaves a bunch of it and only one or a couple of animals find it and eat the whole lot they can die from indigestion. With wild deer not approaching it until you leave, you can't control how much any one of them will consume.
- by attracting the deer into one spot people cause them to congregate in large groups, and that can lead to increase in communicable disease spread, like CWD (not present in NZ). Everybody knows what social distancing is these days and the merits of it. Well, by promoting concentration of deer people are endangering their health.
- it's hardly sustainable long-term, as deer will habituate the feeding spot and eventually hang out there most of the time, stripping any and all vegetation present in the area, destroying trees by eating bark and rubbing antlers on them.
Where a few deer 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.
- concentrating deer near inhabited areas may result in increased traffic accidents;
- attracting deer near peoples' property through feeding can also attract predators, like cougars or coyotes. Also, deer can under certain conditions be aggressive themselves and are capable of causing serious injuries to humans;
If you want to help deer survive winter:
You can do this by creating and maintaining good quality deer habitat and improving food resources that will actually benefit all wildlife.
- plant mast producing trees and shrubs, and protect those plantings until they are large enough to survive deer browsing;
- plant evergreen trees for winter thermal cover
- cut sections of mature forests to create forest openings and increase the amount of woody browse available to deer.
If you can't resist feeding deer, follow these guidelines:
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- To make sure food is safe prefer tree branches (oak, aspen, crab-apple) over artificial foods, otherwise use deer pellets (Purina Antler Advantage, MONSTERMEAL) or coarsely milled oats;
- To promote better dispersal of animals feed in several sites;
- To avoid human/wildlife conflicts feed well away from any roads or peoples houses;
- Spread the food really well, so numerous deer can have simultaneous access to it without fighting. Stronger bucks will often hoard the best spots for themselves and kick approaching competition. So instead of dumping all in one spot make thin, long lines of food, they can go parallel, as long as there's enough room between them for animals to stand. The wider you can make the area the better.
- If you begin feeding in fall, continue until snow melt in spring, as deer can become dependent on you. Prepare to give more feed as more deer will discover and frequent your sites.
Last modified 2021-03-22 at 10:51