What To Feed Deer Instead Of Corn

Deer Feed

You may have heard the phrase ‘corn is king’ when it comes to feeding deer, but did you know there are much better options out there?

Deer are actually quite picky eaters that need a variety of foods to stay healthy – and corn just isn’t cutting it.

In this article, we’ll explore some other alternatives that will keep your local deer population happy and healthy. From fruits and vegetables to nuts and seeds, grains, and legumes, you can provide deer with a balanced diet that won’t break the bank – all while avoiding the pitfalls of feeding them too much corn.

So let’s get started!

The Nutritional Needs of Deer


Deer have specific nutritional needs that must be met in order to maintain their health, so it’s important to understand what they require instead of feeding them just corn.

Forage preferences vary depending on the region and season but deer typically prefer a variety of grasses, legumes, shrubs, leaves, and trees.

In addition to ensuring a balanced diet of forages, mineral supplements should also be offered as minerals are essential for antler development and healthy fur coats.

However, like humans, deer need more than just greens in their diet; fruits and vegetables can provide additional vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal health.

Fruits and Vegetables


Providing the wild creatures a variety of ‘fruits of the forest’ is like giving them a pot of gold, as an old adage goes.

Fruits and vegetables can be an excellent source of nutrition for deer, in addition to their natural foraging habits that mainly consist of plants and foliage.

Deer have different preferences when it comes to plant material, but generally speaking they tend to prefer higher sugar content items such as apples and other fruits along with some vegetable materials such as corn or alfalfa.

As deer are browsers, meaning they graze on a wide range of plants throughout the year; they need access to various vegetation types which can include fallen fruit from trees or shrubs.

In terms of nutrition, fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals that are important for the health and well-being of deer.

For example, apples provide vitamin C which helps boost immunity while carrots contain beta carotene which is essential for vision health.

Additionally, many dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach provide high levels of iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium – all important nutrients needed by deer to keep healthy!

The best way to make sure that deer get enough vitamins and minerals is to offer a variety varieties throughout the year so they can obtain maximum benefit from each type.

Nuts and seeds also offer another great option for providing additional nutritional value for deer since these are energy dense foods filled with protein and omega fatty acids – all necessary components for optimal health!

Additionally, nuts can provide a tasty treat in between meals when other food sources may be scarce during certain times in the year.

With careful planning around what you feed your local herd you can ensure that their diet is balanced with plenty of nutritious options including nuts & seeds alongside fruits & veggies!

Nuts and Seeds


Offering nuts and seeds to wild deer can offer them a tasty treat packed with protein, omega fatty acids, and essential vitamins and minerals. This provides an excellent alternative to feeding wild deer corn, as it supplies the same nutritional benefits without being too high in carbohydrates or calories. Nuts like acorns, hazelnuts, hickory nuts and beechnuts are all great options for providing a wholesome snack for the animals. Seeds like sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds are also great options that provide necessary nutrition without having a negative effect on their diet.

Table 1: Benefits of Feeding Deer Nuts & Seeds

Benefits Description
Conserving Habitats Nuts and seeds require less land than corn, allowing natural habitats to remain intact while still providing food for wildlife.
Attracting Wildlife Nuts and seeds can attract more types of wildlife than just deer due to their diverse range of flavors and textures.
Nutritional Content Nuts & Seeds provide high levels of protein, vitamins & minerals essential for growth & development in young animals as well as adults

Providing these snacks to wild deer helps conserve habitats while simultaneously attracting other varieties of wildlife due to the variety of flavors available from different nuts and seeds. Additionally, these snacks contain higher levels of protein which is beneficial for both growing fawns as well as adult animals that need more energy when breeding or during cold winters months. While there are many different types of nuts and seeds available depending on the seasonality in your area, all will supply necessary nutrition without compromising health or habitat conservation goals.

Not only does replacing corn with nuts & seed help reduce overconsumption by wildlife but it also encourages more natural behaviors since they must search out these sources rather than relying entirely on human handouts. Legumes such as clover, alfalfa hay pellets or soybean meal can be added into this mix creating an even healthier option for wild deer populations…



Adding legumes, such as clover, alfalfa hay pellets, or soybean meal to the mix can create an even healthier option for wild deer populations. Legumes are high in protein and provide essential vitamins and minerals that corn does not. They also contain healthy fats, which can help keep deer well-nourished throughout the year.

Here are some of the legumes that work best when feeding wild deer:

* Hay cubes – These are a great way to give deer a nutritious snack without having to worry about overfeeding them.
* Alfalfa hay pellets – These provide a good source of energy and nutrition for deer in cold winter months.
* Soybean meal – This is highly digestible and rich in protein, making it an ideal supplement for wild deer who may be lacking other sources of essential nutrients.

Legume-based snacks should always be supplemented with minerals blocks that contain trace minerals like zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. This helps ensure that deer receive all of the necessary vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy.

In addition to providing nutrition through legumes, it’s also important to make sure that water is available for wild herds so they can stay hydrated during dry periods. As with any dietary change, it’s important to monitor the health of wild herds when introducing new food sources such as legumes or grains so you can adjust accordingly if needed.



You can supplement your wild deer’s diet with grains such as oats, barley and wheat for a delicious and nutritious snack that will tantalize their taste buds. When it comes to feeding wild deer these grains, it is important to understand the variety of options available. Oats are rich in protein, carbohydrates and fiber and provide essential vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. Barley is an excellent source of dietary fiber, selenium, phosphorous, magnesium and copper. Wheat is high in carbohydrates but also contains important minerals like zinc, iron and calcium.

In addition to providing much needed nutrition for wild deer populations, grain-based forage plants are also beneficial because they can help improve the hay quality during winter months when food sources become scarce. Grains typically have higher levels of protein than other types of forage plants which makes them a great choice during colder times when deer need more energy to survive. They are also easy to digest so they will be quickly converted into energy by the animal’s body.

Grains are versatile feed options that can be used throughout all seasons but should always be supplemented with other types of forage plants or hay depending on the time of year. They provide essential nutrients that keep wild deer healthy while helping maintain good hay quality during cold months when food sources become limited.

Nutrient Oats Barley Wheat
Protein Rich Moderate Moderate
Carbohydrates High High High
Fiber High High Medium Medium Medium Low Low Low

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I feed deer?

You should feed deer according to their natural diet, and adjust the feeding frequency accordingly. Aim for a balance of fresh vegetation, grains, and nuts to ensure healthy nutrition. Be mindful of the quantity you provide too – you don’t want to overfeed them!

Is it safe to feed deer in populated areas?

Wow, feeding deer in populated areas can be tricky! Be sure to provide shelter and plant shrubs to give them a safe space. But remember – safety first! Make sure you feed the deer from a distance so they don’t become too comfortable around humans. Feeding deer in populated areas can be challenging, but with the right precautions it’s totally doable.

What is the best way to attract deer?

You can attract deer by providing natural forage and improving their habitat. Plant shrubs, trees, and other vegetation to create a welcoming environment. Let your land provide the nourishment they need!

Can I feed deer store-bought food?

Wow! Yes, you can provide store-bought food for deer. But why not go the extra mile and provide them with vegetables or plant flowers to attract more natural food? That way, you’ll be sure to keep them satisfied and happy in a much more exciting way!

Is it safe to feed deer from my garden?

Yes, it’s safe to feed deer from your garden! Natural treats like nuts, berries, and fruit from trees can provide nutritious meals. Be careful to only offer small amounts so as not to upset the natural balance of their diet. Enjoy watching them come closer and benefit from your generous gifts!


You’ve probably heard that feeding deer corn is bad for them, but what should you feed them instead?

The answer is simple: a variety of nutritious options! Deer need a balanced diet to stay healthy and this includes fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, and grains.

Feeding deer these natural alternatives gives them the nutrients they need without any of the health risks associated with corn-based diets.

So next time you’re looking to do something nice for your local deer population, think outside the bag of corn – they’ll thank you for it!

Plus, it’s an opportunity to watch wildlife in their natural habitat; a truly awe-inspiring experience that will leave you feeling refreshed and energized – like a bolt of lightning!

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