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What Do Deer Eat? All About Deer’s Diet and Favorite Food

Deer are strictly herbivores, with plants and fruits comprising 100% of their diet as far as documented records can go. While there are claims deer may not only eat fruits and grasses and may also eat flesh, the current classification is that they are herbivores.

Deer do not just eat every grass and fruit they see, they have preferences, and this guide will highlight them. Like most animals and humans, deer have favorite foods and alternative options they can manage when their most desired diet is not available.

What is Deer’s Favorite Food

There are foods that deer love to eat. They actively look for this food and will only settle for other alternatives if they cannot find them.

  • Acorns.
  • Apples.
  • Grasses.
  • Blueberries.
  • Hickory Nuts.
  • Lichens.
  • Leaves.
  • Sedges.
  • Pecans.
  • Seeds.
  • Twigs.
  • Woody Plants.
  • Vegetables.
  • Tree Bark.

What Are the Food Categories that Make up Deer Diet?

The deer diet generally comprises grasses, crops, vegetation, nuts, leaves, twigs, fruits, and vegetables. They also eat tree bark when their primary choices are scarce. Deer diets are defined by their habitat. This means that a deer in a particular habitat may enjoy a diet slightly different from one in another habitat.

Also read: What Eats a Deer? Top 10 Deer Predators

Deer eating fruit

What Fruits Do Deer Eat?

Deer enjoy fruits, making them a significant part of their diet. Some of the major fruits that deer love to munch include:

  • Apples.
  • Pears.
  • Persimmons.
  • Plums.
  • Mulberries.
  • Berries.
  • Bananas.

What Vegetables Do Deer Eat?

Deer do not eat vegetables as their first choice of food. However, vegetables make up a significant part of their diet. Here are the top vegetable deer eat:

  • Prickly-stemmed okra.
  • Hot pepper.
  • Beans Leaf.
  • Cabbage.
  • Lettuce.
  • Broccoli.
  • Brussels sprouts.
  • Cauliflower.

Also read: How Do You Call a Male Deer? (Male Deer Names)

What Grass Do Deer Like Best?

Deer enjoy grasses and have choices they prefer. Some of the top grasses that make up a significant part of deer diet include:

  • Rescue Grass.
  • Sedges.
  • Rushes.
  • Panic grasses.
  • Winter Grass.
  • Witchgrass.
  • Oats.
  • Wheat.
  • Rye.
Deer eating grass

How Often Do Deer Eat?

Deer will eat every four hours on average. Their eating frequency is determined by the fiber in their food. If a deer eats fiber-rich food like tree bark and nuts, it will take another 7 hours before it becomes hungry and wants to eat again.

Also read: Are Deer Dangerous? Are They Aggressive Towards Humans?

How Much Do Deer Eat Daily?

Deers eat 2 pounds to 4 pounds worth of food daily. A deer will eat food proportional to 6% to 8% of its body weight. This percentage gives a better idea of how much deer eat at a time. The bigger the deer, the more it will eat.

What Do Deer Eat in Summer?

Deer have many options during summer and can almost get their favorite food anytime they need it if there is not a lot of competition.

  • Soybeans.
  • Corn.
  • Alfalfa.
  • Rye.
  • Bark.
  • Legumes.
  • Apples.
  • Crab Apple.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Plum Bushes.

What Do Deer Eat During the Winter?

Deer get to adjust their diet during the winter as food is scarce at the time. Most of their food is often in limited supply, and they will only make do with what they can find. Some of the foods that make up their winter diet include:

  • Stems.
  • Twigs.
  • Grasses.
  • Nuts.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Fruits.
Deer in winter

Also read: Where Do Deer Sleep? All About Deer Sleeping Habits

How Often Do Deer Eat in Winter?

Deer do not eat as much food during winter as they do in summer due to food scarcity. They can cope with eating every 8 hours, which is about three times a day. Deer depend on twigs during winter and eat other food they can find.

What Do Deer Eat In Fall?

Fall is almost as harsh as winter, and most of the foods they can find in winter are available in fall. Some of the major diet deer eat in fall are:

  • Leaves.
  • Buds.
  • Twigs.
  • Bark Trees.
  • Needles.
  • Shrubs.

How Long Can Deer Live Without Food?

Deer can survive for up to a month without eating. Being ruminants, they survive on the fat their body accumulates from storing foods. Their Four-chambered Stomach allows them to live on stored foods for a long time.

Also read: Are Deer Friendly? Do They Show Affection To Humans?

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Deer Eat Insects?

Deer do not eat insects because they are generally herbivores. They instead eat grasses, bark trees, apples and other vegetation.

Do Deer Eat Fungi?

Deer eat fungi during summer and all when they are available. Some popular fungi they eat include boletes, morels, brittlegills, waxycaps, shelf fungi and ringstalk mushrooms.

Do Deer Eat Animals?

Deer do not eat animals because they are herbivores. They are ruminant animals which eat only vegetation, grasses and fruits for sustenance. Deer do not predate any animal, no matter how small.

Do Deer Eat Fish?

Deer do not eat fish because they are herbivores. They instead prefer fruits, nuts, vegetables, grasses and fungi. They are not interested in fish or any animal.

Do Deer Eat Hay?

Deer do not naturally eat hay. In captivity, they can be fed hay alongside other meals. Feeding deer only hay can be problematic as they will have issues digesting it.

How Far Can a Deer Smell Food?

Deer have a high smell sensitivity and can smell food from ¼ miles. They will keep tracing the smell to see whether they can eat the food or not.

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