Do deer eat alfalfa?
Do deer eat alfalfa? In this article, we will talk about the possible connections between alfalfa and the deer eating habit.
Alfalfa is a perennial foraging crop mainly cultivated for silage, hay, and grazing. It is also used as a cover crop and green manure. As humans, alfalfa sprouts are also used in many sandwiches, salads, and other side dishes. Alfalfa is also highly nutritious and can help improve the soil and provide control against erosion. However, suppose you cultivate alfalfa in your property. In that case, chances are you have found a few twigs, broken twigs to show that some animal had been through your alfalfa fields, symbolizing the work of a deer. Hence, you may ask—do deer eat alfalfa?
Alfalfa for deer “food” plots
Deer eat alfalfa, and the damage they cause might reduce yields significantly. In truth, alfalfa has been used as a forage for deer, especially during the summer months. It is a highly digestible fiber and contains a tremendous amount of fiber, making them palatable for deer. Therefore, if you are cultivating alfalfa for any other reason, you need to make sure that deer do not have access to them.
If you are considering offering alfalfa as hay for deer during the winter, then you must realize that it might cause bloating as alfalfa is designed for grazing animals rather than browsing ones. It is recommended to use the alfalfa in pellet form alongside mixing with other food sources to prevent problems. Overall, it’s much better to provide woody browse from deciduous trees like basswood, aspen, birch, and maples during the winter. Besides, deer have a different stomach structure during winter, and better digest woody browse than alfalfa.
How to stop deer from eating your alfalfa plots
Deer are quite smart, which means you need to be as strategic as ever to keep them away. Luckily there are things you can do to stop deer from eating your alfalfa plots.
Fencing is the most effective way to keep them out. Erect an 8-foot conventional fence, and you can stop deer from ever coming into your fields. You can equally erect the fence in a slightly slanted format, to keep them from attempting the jump. Deer will not jump when they cannot see the other end of their landing spot.
You can use noise and taste repellents to prevent deer from eating up your alfalfa plots. However, you need to alternate between two or three different repellents to prevent deer from getting used to them.
Make your land as “busy” as ever
You can also add in a few usual sounds and movements to keep deer away. This is best done in groups (not a solo sound), to keep them out effectively. You can use wind chimes, whistling, spinning, and even water sprinklers to keep them from entering your yard. However, do bear in mind that, when deer are desperate and hungry, they will overlook the sounds to get a taste of your crops.
You can also install electronic posts to retain the natural-looking landscape while effectively keeping them away. This is just as effective as fencing, but less expensive. However, it requires consistent maintenance. You must also ensure it is firmly rooted to the ground to prevent deer from going under them.
Do deer eat alfalfa? Yes, they do. Alfalfa is a great foraging crop and sometimes used for deer food plots. Therefore, if you are concerned about your fields’ nuisance, you must keep them from entering. Fencing is a great option, although you can pair it up with repellent to achieve robust protection against deer.