In this post we answer the questions:
Picture evidence on this page answers the question of 'do deer eat carrots' pretty clearly. They can and will eat these vegetables if they come across them. Dig them up from the ground even (which is why keeping deer out of a carrot garden is a mission). But are carrots good for deer? How healthy are carrots for deer?
Raw carrots are liked and can be easily digested by deer, although in nature, these veges are hardly a typical food source for them.
🥕Carrots contain vital nutrients such as beta carotene (vitamin A), fiber, calcium and vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Vitamin A and C boost deer bone formation and antler development. We've been supplementing our deers diet with carrots for years and have seen no negative effects.
If you're wondering whether it is safe for the wild deer to be fed unprocessed carrots in your backyard, the simple answer is: 'It depends'. Sorry, that doesn't sound too simple. But deer are complicated creatures. Meaning, their digestive tract takes time to adapt to a certain diet, and any suddenly introduced different type of food can disrupt it in a bad way, from diarrhea to death from acidosis.
Under what conditions are carrots safe for deer?
Why not in winter? Because it's a big responsibility and a lot of dedication. Nobody benefits if you throw an occasional bag of carrots (or other feed) and forget about the deer later. They'll keep coming long distances to your spot, burning precious calories, and then finding nothing, you'll let them down. Also, it's even more dangerous for their digestive system as it's attuned to winter diet and lacks bacteria to process anything else. Therefore, introducing things slowly is key, and that's a committment, winter-long committment of your time and money. And if you think in a month's time deer will start taking food from your hand - you're most likely be disappointed, it takes close to a year of daily interactions for them to start trusting you like that.
Fawns should not be introduced to supplemental foods too early because of their developing digestive system. They generally depend on their mother’s milk for the first 3 to 4 months of their lives. The key to helping baby deer thrive is feeding their mothers!
Easily. Both the tops and the roots will be enthusiastically consumed by deer. You don't have to cut carrots into smaller pieces, but that helps, of course. They will also eat carrot leaves and roots. Rotten carrots will also be gobbled up.
They can. However, unless we're talking boiled carrots, please don't feed deer any commercially processed ones (canned, pickled etc) as they may contain unwanted addittives effects of which on the animals are unknown.
Read our overview post 'What do deer eat'.
Deer will eat practically anything when food supplies are low, but otherwise they adore carrots, apples, bananas, pears, berries, especially blueberries and blackberries, beets, quite enjoy some leafy greens, spinach, turnip, cauliflower, peas, beans or broccoli, strawberries, plums, pumpkin, cabbage, sweet potatoes and sweetcorn. Nuts are also very appealing to deer. We find citruses are not on top of their list but deer will eat them if there's no better alternative, even lemons, whole.
Not fans of onion, garlic and fennel, although our 'gourmets' didn't mind some garlic toast.
Our animals get carrots as a supplement quite often, and every day during summer droughts, when there's less vegetation available.
Therefore, we gotta have some storage for those carrots to keep them fresh summer. So instead of a beer fridge, we have deer fridge, as in, it's for the deer (not with deer in it):
Watching deer chew their food is quite entertaining:
Carrots are highly desirable, but when they get fed both carrots and bread at the same time, most deer prefer bread. Bread is king! But please don't feed wild deer big quantities of bread, it's also something their digestive system needs to get used to over time.
So it all adds up to this: deer love eating carrots, and many other things. But whether, when and how to feed them - is a totally different question.
Do you have any other questions for us regarding feeding deer 🥕🥕🥕? Feel free to ask in the comments section below.
Last modified 2022-12-06 at 19:11