All sorts of squashes ( summer squash, zucchini (courgette), pattypan ) are members of the same family with pumpkins (Cucurbita spp.) and are somewhat similar in taste and texture. Yes, deer will eat squash and zucchini if they are hungry and food sources are scarce. However, they are not typically a preferred food source for deer.
In our experience, courgette plants are ignored for the most part. Also, deer have never been seen fighting over a bit of zucchini fruit.
Ignore Junkie on the picture above, she's been known to eat practically anything, just how she is, she probably likes a round shape (for her figure).
Regarding squash foliage, we've tested deer enthusiasm for this freshly cut slightly yellowing pattypan squash leaf, and 3 out of 3 present does did partake in eating it.
Babushka actually chewed the stalk into spaghetti when she has finished with leaf:
One out of 3 ate a little pattypan fruit that was also not looking promising, so I cut it off and decided to see if deer wanted it. So tastes differ among deer.
Still, one leaf was seen on the ground for a while. That's another sign they don't really fancy squash plants, won't cross a street for them, but will eat if they're right under their noses and nothing tastier in vicinity.
So the bottom line? Squash plants are deer resistant to an extent that the animals in the area have better options. On the other hand, some even eat the fruits and stalks. So if you want a true peace of mind, keep your squash, zucchini/courgette or gourds inaccessible to the hungry critters. Ours have been fenced off just in case, experience says 'never trust a deer with your harvest'.
Published 15 November 2023