If you have deer that visit your backyard, you might be considering giving them some treats to keep them coming back. There are different types of food that you can give to deer, but you need to know which food is a treat and which one is actual food.
For example, you might have some celery you’d like to give to your deer. But you need to know if it is safe for them to eat it and if it will benefit their health.
Can deer eat celery? Deer can and should eat celery. Celeries are vegetables that help deer meet their nutritional needs so they are an excellent food for you to offer them.
Is Celery Beneficial to Deer?
Deer can eat celery and other vegetables. You should understand that plants such as celery can satisfy the nutrient needs of deer so long as they have enough.
What You Should Consider
1. Deer are Herbivores
Herbivorous animals are animals that eat only plants and plant products. This means that they do not eat items such as meat, cheese, etc. As herbivores, deer can get their full nutrition from eating plant products such as celery.
2. Deer are Ruminants
Ruminant animals are herbivores that chew their cud. What makes ruminant animals ruminants is the possession of an organ called the rumen. In the rumen of ruminants, there are tons of bacteria and other microbes that help cows, deer, goats, and other ruminants to digest their food.
Look at it this way: ruminant animals cultivate microbes in their rumen which they will later eat. You heard that right. When deer eat celery and other vegetables, the microbes break down and digest the food while the deer eats and digests the undigested food (called the cud) as well as microbes.
It may not look like much, but the microbes in a rumen give deer as well as other ruminant animals a lot of proteins. This is why ruminants such as cows, goats, deer, etc. can eat just plants but will grow large.
3. Deer Need as Much Food as They Can Get in the Winter
During the winter, deer food sources will become depleted. Deer can eat tree leaves, branches, and twigs. In winter, however, deer may find it difficult to reach upper branches because other animals will have eaten the leaves in the lower branches.
If you give deer celery and other vegetables, deer will survive the winter. What’s more? Celery has a lot of moisture content, so even though there are fewer water sources in winter, deer can get a little water from consuming celery (as long as it is fresh).
The table below shows the nutritional composition of celery. The nutritional composition of fresh celery may confuse you because of the high moisture content, so you should compare it with the nutrition of dried celery in the next column.
|Nutrient||Unit||Quantity (Fresh)||Quantity (Dry)|
As you can see from the table above, fresh celery has a lot of moisture that will help hydrate deer. During digestion, deer will get other nutrients from celery as long as they eat enough of it (the reason you see ruminant animals such as goats, cows, deer, etc. always eating).
Even though the nutrients may not look much, deer (through the help of their microbes) make good use of them. It is time to consider an essential need of deer which is protein.
Deer Protein Needs
While animals need every nutrient to remain healthy, they need more proteins to grow. The table below highlights the protein needs of deer according to their age:
|Fawn||Normal growth||14 to 18%|
|Fawn||Fast growth||16 to 20%|
|Adult||Maintenance||6 to 10%|
|Female Adult||Pregnancy||11 to 15%|
|Female Adult||During Lactation||14 to 22%|
|Male Adult||Development of Antlers||15 to 16%|
As you can see from the table above, deer need from 6-18% protein depending on their age. This means that there are some growth stages of deer when they need more than just vegetables such as celery.
When you raise animals such as goats and cows, you know that even though their major food is grass, hay, etc., you need to provide them with a few other protein sources. Even though you may not be raising deer, you can use a similar principle. What else can you give to deer?
Supplementing Celery with Other Food Sources
Here are some examples of food items that you can give to deer:
1. Deer Mix
Deer mix is simply processed feed made for deer. Just like goat pellets, deer mix contains grains, alfalfa, and other ingredients to enrich them. If you like, you can go to a local store to get deer mix.
Cereal grains are also great sources of proteins for deer. Grains such as barley and wheat are suitable for deer. Grains make great treats for deer. You can also give grains to deer in the winter.
3. Other Protein-Rich Seeds
Peas, cooked beans, sunflower seeds, watermelon seeds, etc. are rich in proteins and you can give them to deer. Deer love seed treats.
Related Questions and Answers
1. How Much Celery Can Deer Eat?
Deer can eat as much celery as you want to give to them. There really is not a limit of how much celery a deer should or shouldn’t eat, so if you have a lot of celery to spare, you can give it all to deer in your yard.
2. Can Deer Eat Celery Stalk?
The stalk of celery is very fibrous. Something unique about ruminants is that they can digest dietary fiber (cellulose). This means that deer can eat and digest the stalk of celery.
3. Can Deer Eat Goat Pellets?
Goat pellets and deer mix are similar with just a few differences in the protein needs (suitable to each animal according to their age). This means that deer can eat goat pellets.
Goat pellets are quite expensive, so to practice cost-effective homesteading, do not give too many goat pellets to deer that frequent your backyard.
4. Can Deer Eat Carrots?
Deer love carrots and you can give as many carrots as you want to deer. Give carrots to deer as treats if you want them to still value carrots.
5. Can Deer Eat Rice?
Deer can eat rice, but rice contains too many carbohydrates, so it is best that you give rice to deer as treats, not actual food. Do not give too much rice to deer as a carbohydrate-rich diet can upset their rumen.
Deer can and should eat celery. You can give fresh or dry celery to deer. Deer can even eat celery stalk, so no need t waste it.
Remember that aside from celery, you can give other protein-rich foods to deer to meet their nutritional needs.