If you offer some bread to a deer, it will probably eat it; however, bread isn’t the best food source for a deer. Deer will eat many of the same foods as humans.
In addition to eating grasses and shrubs, deer will also eat packaged food specifically manufactured for them. Bread and human foods may not be a healthy diet for a deer. There are a few preventative measures to take when feeding a wild deer by hand. This article will answer the question, ‘can deer eat bread?’ we’ll also give you some tips about safely feeding deer.
Can deer eat bread?
Deer are herbivores which means they only eat plants; plants do not include bread. Although bread is made out of grains which is technically plants, bread is processed and isn’t suitable for deer.
According to The Wildlife Society, people should not feed wild deer table scraps or human food. There are several reasons for this:
- Human food can make a deer sick.
- A deer might get used to eating human food and never search out the right foods for itself. In the long run, this will affect the health of the deer.
- A deer could become dependent on humans for food and die if they’re not fed regularly.
- Other animals, such as bears, may prey upon a deer that is too dependent on humans for food.
What foods can deer eat?
Deer in the wild, in general, should be eating:
- Plants such as shrubs and grasses
- They may also eat mosses and mushrooms
- Twigs, branches, and tree bark
- Food pellets that are manufactured to include all the nutrients a deer needs
When can you feed wild deer?
You should never offer food to a wild deer, especially bread. But if you live near a herd of deer and would like to help them survive the winter, there are alternatives such as:
- Planting shrubs and berries that deer will eat.
- Purchasing food pellets that deer can eat during the fall and winter.
- Leaving out water for them to drink
How to feed a wild deer by hand
Even though you shouldn’t feed wild deer bread, if they come up to you looking for food it might be alright to give them a small treat. It’s important to remember that you should only feed deer by hand if:
- You can positively identify the animal as a deer and not another animal, such as a moose or elk.
- The deer doesn’t have any other food source; this means it is looking for human food out of desperation.
- You maintain a safe distance from the deer. When feeding a wild deer, don’t get too close to the deer; you should be at least 10 feet away from wild animals at all times. It’s also best to keep children and pets away from the deer. Remember that deers are wild animals, you can enjoy watching them from a distance, but if you get too close, they may become spooked and can buck or kick.
- The animal isn’t injured, sick, or orphaned. If a wild deer appears to be sick or injured, contact a veterinarian specializing in deer if you believe the animal needs medical attention. You can also observe the deer from a safe distance and contact a local wildlife conservation officer if it doesn’t leave within 24 hours. If you believe the animal is sick or injured, refrain from touching it and keep your pets away from it as well because an animal in pain may lash out in self-defence.
Can Deer Eat Bread?: Conclusion
As you can see, it is essential to know what foods are safe for wild deer. You may want to feed deer, but bread isn’t the best option. If you’re going to help deer, plant shrubs and berries, which should attract them and provide food.