Do Deer Eat Birdseed?
Do deer eat birdseed? Naturally, this food is for commercial, wild, and domestic fowl. However, deer are voracious and eat anything they can find, so what about birdseed?
Deer are like machines when it comes to eating. Favorites include vegetables, berries, fruits, buds, new shoots, flowers, bark, young leaves, etc. Deer eat several pounds of food a day. The animals can wipe out trees, shrubs, landscaping, plants, and gardens in their wake. Deer frustrate many growers by damaging their land. So, do deer eat birdseed, too?
Deer and Bird Seeds
Unfortunately, deer eat bird seeds even if they’re not the first or second food choice. If you own a feeder, birds may not be your only diners. Deer can quickly empty out birdseed, which costs homeowners more money. You’ll need to purchase more seeds for your flying friends. Deer can also cause damage to bird feeders. You may see your setup torn up or knocked down because the voracious animals were hungry.
Also, when deer eat bird seeds, they’ll leave their droppings all around your property.
Deer also carry around their own brand of parasites, which can infest your garden plants. The droppings may lead to undesirable health events, such as food poisoning.
If you don’t want to have any of these unpleasant experiences, you need to keep deer away from your bird feeders. So, how do you make deer go away?
How to Protect Your Bird Feeders From Deer?
Change Your Birdseed Variety
Deer eat many types of bird seeds, but there are varieties they won’t eat by choice. Protect your feeders by loading them with Nyjer (thistle) and Safflower seeds. These two options taste bitter to mammals alongside deer and squirrels. However, please realize that this method alone cannot protect your bird feeders. If your area has a high deer population, beggars can’t be choosers when it comes to finding food. The bitter birdseed varieties will become a meal if survival is at stake.
You can consider coating the seeds with hot pepper oils, like cayenne. Deer avoid super spicy flavors, so it’s one way to stop them from eating out of the feeder. Adding some hot pepper sting will deter other pests like squirrels and rabbits. Birds won’t be affected by the spicy flavoring and will still eat the seeds.
Keep Your Bird Feeders Higher
Deer can climb as high as seven feet, so you need to move up your bird feeders. Consider getting a very tall pole that measures about 8′ to hang the food. Deer will have trouble getting to the seeds when the bird feeders are up higher. You can use a shepherd’s hook or step stool when it’s time to refill the food.
Store Seeds Securely and Keep the Yard Clean
Make sure to keep your entire property free of debris. Concerning your bird feeders, you can also invest in seed catchers. These products protect your yard and catch anything that falls out from the birds eating. Also, store all the birdseed supplies in a garage, locked storage box, or shed. Ensure it’s a spot that deer or other mammals cannot penetrate. Don’t store the birdseed in the bags alone. Deer can chew through the packages and knock over any unsecured containers.
Deter Deer From Your Yard Completely
Besides keeping deer from your bird feeders, consider keeping them out of your gardens. You can do this by using deer repellents. Fencing your entire property is also a great way to keep deer out. You can also cultivate Deer Resistance Plants.