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October 20, 2020 3 min read

Do Deer eat rhubarb? When in search of that vegetable deer will not eat, you may consider the rhubarb plant. In this blog post, we will talk about rhubarb and their strange relationships with Deer.

Deer eat everything out there, incredibly, when hungry. These majestic creatures are known for their incredible feeding habits. They can eat everything from twigs, to the carcass of dead animals, given the occasion. If you are searching for a vegetable deer will not eat, then you may consider rhubarb. Known for its long smooth stalks and stunning red tongue like stalks with dark-kale-like leaves, it is one beautiful addition to any garden. Hence, the question in your mind would be – do Deer eat rhubarb? Can I use it to keep Deer away from my gardens?

Rhubarb as Fodder or Deterrent?

There is no right way to answer this question. First, rhubarb leaves contain high concentrations of oxalic acid, making them highly poisonous to humans and animals alike. Deer too are not left out of the equation. According to Cornell University, Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) is one of the plants; deer do not like to eat due to its high levels of oxalic acid. It is equally possible its pungent smells, and textured leaves are also other reasons while deer tend to stay away from them. Rhubarb is also a cool-season perennial vegetable known for its hardiness and resilience. However, is rhubarb still an excellent deterrent?


In theory, Deer will leave your Rhubarb plants alone, making them deer-resistant. A starving deer might still mow through your Rhubarb plants. According to Rhubarb Toxic Info, if the Deer takes in a small number of leaves, it may not cause harm. However, when a single deer eats large amounts, especially up to 5 to 10 pounds, it might cause kidney failure and even death.

Nevertheless, reality paints a different picture. Deer are grazers and can indeed mow down your rhubarb, but these habits may be seasonal. For example, in summer, when they have many other available food sources, they might not feed on them. In contrast, Deer may eat rhubarb in early spring, when they cannot find adequate nutrients elsewhere. Furthermore, in winter, Deer could quickly wish to have more of your rhubarb. However, this is highly unlikely, as rhubarb tend to disappear during the winter only to re-sprout in the following spring.

So, even as you plan to use rhubarb as deer deterrent, ensure you can also keep the surrounding Deer from feeding on them.

Other deterrents

Consider using odor repellents and fences alongside to keep them from reaching out for more than a few nibbles. Concerning repellents ensure that you use at least two in rotation to keep the surrounding Deer from becoming used to the smell of the repellent.Also, ensure that you use fences about 8-foot tall or a shorter fence (6-feet) with electrical wiring. You can equally use a parallel fence or slanted fence systems.

Final thoughts

Do Deer eat rhubarb? Theoretically, they do not, but reports show that Deer can eat rhubarb when starving. If they eat them in large amounts, it can also kill them. Therefore, if you wish to use rhubarb to keep Deer out of your gardens, make sure you also add other deterrent measures alongside.

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