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Can Deer Eat Grapes/Raisins?

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Feeding deer and giving them treats is such a nice thing to do as long as you are giving them healthy treats. What kind of treats are good to give to your deer to help them stay healthy and keep them coming back?

Can deer eat grapes or raisins? Deer can eat grapes and raisins. Grapes are full of water, sugars, and vitamins, so they are an awesome treat idea for deer. As for raisins, they contain very little moisture and a lot of sugars, so they are more of a junk food for deer.


Giving Grapes or Raisins to Deer

You should give deer healthy treats. While many people already know what the deer in there yard love to eat, you may not know the favorite treat of your deer, so you want to try out different items such as grapes and raisins.

This chart breaks down the nutrient composition of grapes and raisins.

NutrientComposition in GrapesComposition in Raisins

(Sources: Grape, Raisin)

As you can see from the table above, grapes and raisins both contain a lot of sugars, but raisins have a higher concentration.

Deer are ruminants and eating a lot of sugar-rich foods can damage their rumen. This means that even though deer can eat both raisins and grapes, you should give them fewer raisins.

How Often Should Deer Eat Grapes?

Grapes are safer for deer than raisins. You should give deer at most 10-15 grapes weekly. Make sure that you are not giving a deer more than 15 grapes weekly as they need to eat other healthy food items.

grapes on a branch

Why You Should Not Give Raisins to Deer Regularly

Here are some reasons you should not give raisins to deer on a regular basis:

  • Raisins Are Junk Food for Deer: Any sugar-rich food can disturb the microbes in the rumen of deer if deer eat too much of it.
  • Keep Raisins Away from Deer in the Winter: During the winter, deer need food containing protein because digesting proteins can keep them warm. Eating sugar-rich foods such as raisins in the winter is harmful to deer.

When You Should Give Raisins to Deer

Here are some instances that you can give raisins to deer:

1. When Local Laws Permit

If you check local laws and the law does not frown against feeding deer raisins, you can give raisins to deer.

2. As Occasional Treats

This means that you should not give raisins to deer regularly. They can eat raisins, but just a few (3-8 weekly).

3. During the Summer

During the heat of summer, you can give more grapes and raisins to deer as they will be more energetic and need more carbohydrate-rich food to keep them going.

Other Healthy Food Sources and Treats for Deer

Here are some healthy treats and food sources for deer:

1. Wild Raisins

As the name suggests, wild raisins (Viburnum nudum) are grapelike fruits found in the wild. These fruits contain enough sugars, vitamins, and other minerals for deer, birds, and other wild animals.

If you happen to find wild raisins, collect some to use as treats for your deer.

2. Cereal Grains

Deer do not just love grains, grains are also good for them. Examples of grains that deer can eat are:

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Millet
  • Sorghum
  • Rye

You should give more grains to deer in the winter because digesting grains can keep your deer a little bit warmer. Deer also love grains, so you can use grains to attract more deer to your backyard.

3. Legumes Such as Clover and Alfalfa

Deer love legumes. What’s more? Legumes usually contain a lot of proteins. You should give deep alfalfa, clover, and other leguminous plants that are safe to eat.

4. Twigs and Branches

A more natural diet of deer is twigs or branches. Deer search for twigs they can reach and eat. If you do not have grains and other treats for deer, you should give them twigs and branches.

5. Deer Mix

Deer mix is a type of feed formulated just for deer. This means that deer mix contains the necessary nutrients for deer to thrive. If you love having deer visit your backyard or you have run out of treat ideas, you should get deer mix and give your deer this formulated feed instead.

6. Soybeans and Peas

Remember that deer can eat leguminous plants. Deer can also eat the seeds of legumes. Soybeans and peas (amongst other legumes) contain proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients for deer.

You can give deer as many leguminous seeds as you want.

7. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Deer love fruits and vegetables. Examples of fruits and vegetables that deer love are:

  • Acorns
  • Bananas
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Apples
  • Kale
  • Cabbage

Trust me, deer will thank you if you give them fruits and vegetables.

a deer buck

Related Questions and Answers

1. What Should Deer Not Eat?

Here are examples of food items that you should not feed to deer:

  • Potatoes: Cooked potatoes contain too many carbohydrates and sugars. You should not give potatoes to deer.
  • Hay: Hay is not quickly digestible by deer, so deer might appear full, but they can actually be malnourished if they eat food that is slow to digest such as hay.
  • Onions: Onions, garlic, and other similar roots contain too much sulfur. They can kill the microbes in the rumen of deer and hurt your deer.
  • Corn: Corn contains too much starch. You should not feed deer corn. If you must, give them only a few seeds.
  • Pet Feed: Feed made for cats, dogs, and other similar pets might include animal products such as meat, fish, bones, etc. Deer are herbivores, so you should not give them pet feed.

Make sure that deer do not have access to the above food items near your home.

2. Can Deer Eat Carrots?

You must be thinking “If deer should not eat starchy food such as tubers (for example potatoes) and corn, can they eat carrots (as carrots are also tubers)”? Well, deer can and should eat carrots.

Deer should not eat potatoes because potato that is edible is boiled. Boiling food makes it easier to digest, so boiled potato release too many carbohydrates at a time.

For carrots, however, they are not boiled, so deer can eat carrots. In fact, they love them.

3. What Do Deer Love to Eat the Most?

In the wild, deer look for leaves, twigs, and branches to eat. Different deer have their favorite treats, so you should keep trying different treats until you find out what’s best for the deer around you.

You can choose from the seven treat and food ideas listed in this article.

4. Can Fawns Eat Grapes or Raisins?

It is common that when you continue to feed deer, they might return with their family (including fawns).

Fawns can eat grapes, but you should not give them raisins because their rumen is still developing, and do not need anything that will disturb it for now.

5. What Animals Can Eat Raisins?

Several pets can eat raisins. Some pets that can eat raisins are:

  • Guinea pigs
  • Chinchillas
  • Squirrels
  • Horses
  • Pouched rats

Remember that raisins are to be fed as treats, not their main food.

Final Thoughts

Before giving feed or anything to deer, check the local laws. If the law permits you to feed deer, you can give them grapes and other fruits.

You can also give them raisins but only give them occasionally as raisins contain a high concentration of sugar.


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