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Do deer eat oatmeal?

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Oatmeal is breakfast of choice for many people, it's nutritious and tasty. But will deer eat oatmeal? Can you feed deer uncooked raw oats, oat porridge? Your favorite cereal? Let's find out!

Oatmeal for the deer

Lovely deer on a farm enjoying some oatmeal together.

Coarsely milled oats are probably the best food you can give deer, aside from specifically formulated deer pellets. If you sprinkle raw oat flakes they'll lick them off the ground, if you throw a lump of porridge on the grass they're also likely to eat it, might be a tiny bit suspicious at first. Finally, food in the bowl is not exactly what wild animals are used to, so that might take a while. 

Deer can be fed plain rolled oats or oatmeal

The key is making sure the oats are fresh and mold-free. Moldy oats may be dangerous for deer to eat.

Oats can be fed dry, cooked or made into a slurry (mixed with water but not cooked). If feeding in winter, it's a good idea is to add a tiny bit of salt as deer crave that for lacking many nutrients that time of the year.

deer can be fed rolled oats

Deer licking rolled oats off the grass

deer licking oats from the grass

Deer eating cooked oats

deer licking oatmeal of a plate

Oat flakes are good for these animals, and they love them too. 

In our video above, animals are eating simple oats, cooked on water, with a bit of nuts and fried cranberries on top (they're spoiled).

We wouldn't recommend any breakfast cereal though, because those can contain a lot of sugar, bits of chocolate and artificial colors. Doesn't mean deer won't eat it, on Christmas our gourmet deer were even interested in gingerbread house:

deer gingerbread

Gingerbread house was a photo set up, they didn't get to finish eating it. Don't try this with your wild deer. Feed them oats, if anything.

Nutritional benefits of oats for deer

There are many health benefits of eating oats for deer.
The six required nutrients for deer are protein, fat, carbohydrates (fiber, sugar, starch), minerals, vitamins, and water.

Oats tick a few boxes:

word of caution: Always introduce deer to any new diet slowly. It takes these animals 2-4 weeks to adjust their digestive tract.

Wondering what other food deer might like to eat?

Read our overview post 'What do deer eat'.

If you have any more questions regarding 🦌 feeding deer oats or oatmeal, feel free to ask in the comments below.

Last modified 2022-09-20 at 12:40


Can I feed my backyard deer steel cut uncooked oats? Also was told I can feed them 12% all stock sweet feed pellets meant for cattle, sheep and goats.

wondeerful farm

Lori, thanks for asking and sorry for the delay getting back to you.

Steel cut oats are the best kind, they're least processed. Remember, deer even eat bark so they're pretty happy chewing on rougher textures.

Those pellets look fine, deer will probably love them, just that this might be costly for you :) We feed things like that, full of minerals and vitamins, as supplement to grass, haylage etc. Deer need variety of foods (but also take time getting used to new products, so important to start from small amounts).

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