What Do Deer Eat

Looking for information on what do deer eat? Many people believe that deer have the same diet as cows do because they are both ruminants. However, that is not true because cow require a lot of grass in their diet. Deer have a much smaller rumen than cow do, which is why they need a much more nutritious diet that isn't mostly based off of grasses. Although deer can digest grass, it is much easier for them to digest leaves and twigs because of their high protein level. On average, grass makes up no more than 10% of a deer's diet.

The grass that deer eat has to be grass that is quickly and easily digested in their rumen, such as ryegrass and small grains. Throughout the year, deer also like to forage on legumes. Plants make up a big part of a deer's diet. People that live in areas where deer live often have a hard time maintaining a garden because the deer are constantly eating the plants in the garden. A few types of plants that deer particularly enjoy include soft and hard mast, forbs, and browse. Deer will generally go for the plants that have either fruits or acorns on them because of the added nutritional benefits.

Different types of browse that deer will eat include hackberry, oak leaves, mulberry, and elm. Forbs and mast are not always available year round, so deer rely heavily on browse for their diet. If you live in an area where deer are present, one of the worst things you can do is feed the deer human food. Of course, deer love a wide variety of human food, such as corn, fruits, and bread. However, by eating human food, deer will no longer rely on the diet that they should be eating, which causes problems in the event you move or no longer feed the deer and they have to begin relying on their natural environment again to eat.

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