Apples and other low-hanging fruits are a delectable, high carbohydrate treat for many deer. Unlike tree leaves, lichen, mushrooms, grasses, and seeds that make up a deer’s diet; apples have sugar.
Sweetness is not always a good thing. Deer in your yard will happily eat an orchard’s worth of fruit, but is that good for the animals?
I will explain the dangers when deer eat too many apples so you can keep your forest-dwelling friends safe.
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Does Deer Eat Apples
Deer do eat apples, but they shouldn’t. A deer’s stomach or rumen is an incredible system with millions of specialized microorganisms ideal for breaking down woody twigs, leaves, and similar roughage. Apples have high sugar content, and the juice is fermentable, so eating too many can kill a deer whose stomachs cannot adapt to large quantities of fermented fruit.
Do Deer Eat Crab Apples
Crab apples are distasteful to many humans. Deer, on the other hand, seem to enjoy these small sour fruits. Planting them in your yard may attract deer. However, that doesn’t make fruit healthy for the deer.
Do Deer Eat Hedge Apples
Hedge apples are a last-choice food for deer. If they have any other options available, then deer will skip right past this particular fruit.
When food is scarce, local deer may stomp on the fruit and eat the seeds inside. Hedge apples and bark are the deer equivalent of a struggle meal.
Do Deer Eat Apples Whole
Any deer lucky or unlucky enough to come across whole apples will eat them. Since deer are not picky eaters, they generally munch on anything they find edible. Unfortunately, subsisting on apples alone can be dangerous.
In addition to their stomachs, which are unsuited to apple eating, apples lack the necessary nutrients, fiber, and protein that deer need to survive.
A deer that eats too many apples can starve to death with a full stomach.
Do Deer Eat Apple Cores
Although every part of an apple is palatable for deer, they should only eat a little bit of this fruit at a time. The cores of apples, and especially the seeds, are dangerous to some animals like domestic dogs.
In particular, apple seeds contain trace amounts of arsenic, so they aren’t good for any creature, including humans. However, deer will still eat them.
Do Deer Eat Apples Off Trees
Deer are generally small animals, so their reach is limited. Most fully grown apple trees are too high up for deer to eat the fruits.
However, if they can reach a few low-hanging sweets, they will make a meal of them.
Will Deer Eat Apples Off The Ground
Deer are not discerning about what they eat. In hard times some deer have even been seen eating carrion and eggs.
A few species will seek out protein and calcium from these sources when their bodies need it most. An apple on the ground is fair game to a deer.
Even when the fruit is rotten or fermented, deer will still snatch them as a snack.
Do Deer Eat Apples In The Winter
In winter, foraging is a lot tougher for deer, who do not hibernate like some species. As a result, deer will eat winter apples or even potatoes if they can find them.
Some humans go out of their way to provide local deer with apples to help them survive the winter, but this is unhealthy.
Not only do human-fed deer learn to rely on unnatural food sources, but they can end up sick or dead from a lack of necessary nutrients.
How Do You Feed Apples To Deer
Please do not feed apples to deer. When you do this, it is not ‘a treat’. It’s a potentially lethal form of cruelty disguised as kindness.
When you don’t know better, it is one thing, but knowingly feeding animals food they can’t digest is not good. Moreover, dying from a burst stomach is an intensely slow and painful experience for any species.
Do Whitetail Deer Eat Apples
Whitetail Deer often cannot reach apples in the trees naturally. However, should low-hanging fruit become reachable, or a few apples fall from a tree, these deer will snatch them up immediately. Like humans, whitetail deer enjoy a sweet snack.
A whitetail’s stomach is capable of handling small quantities of apples. Moreover, they rarely encounter these sweets unless humans are feeding them.
Do Baby Deer Eat Apples
Newborn deer, known as fawns, do not eat apples. Deer under three months old drink milk from their mothers like most mammals.
Additionally, it would be best if you never gave baby deer wheat, barley, or corn as this can cause gastric distress (stomach problems) very quickly.
Young deer will happily eat a wide variety of healthy deer-friendly foods. Sadly, like their adult counterparts, they have little to no self-control when discovering fruits or vegetables they enjoy.
A little bit of fruit or veggies is not a problem for deer, even young ones.
In nature, deer snack on vegetables and fruits anyway. They are always around in season as deer graze on nearby foliage from fruit-bearing plants.
A baby deer old enough to be weaned probably won’t be seriously harmed by an apple. Still, it is essential to avoid giving them too much fruit, even if it seems like they love it.
Do Wild Deer Eat Apples
Wild deer do eat apples if they come across them. A wild animal doesn’t distinguish between your orchard and a natural forest.
They may notice that the trees are ‘weird’ because they are all the same and growing in rows, but mostly that would have no significance to the animal.
Smelling humans around might matter, especially if the deer in question has ever been hunted. Nevertheless, they are likely to brave the danger if they’re hungry enough.
Do Muntjac Deer Eat Apples
Muntjac deer will eat apples if they find them. Like other deer species, the Muntjac seem to enjoy sweet fruits. However, they may be a little more accustomed to digesting them.
According to Animalia, the Muntjac are omnivorous. This species will dine on eggs and carrion if they are hungry, or the opportunity presents itself.
Most of this deer’s diet consists of brambles, bark, grasses, fungi, ivy, nuts, herbs, plant shoots, and berries.
Since berries also have high sugar content, they can ferment as well. It’s likely that Muntjac at least has less discomfort from eating fruit.
That said, it’s not a great idea to feed any deer apples on purpose.
Helpful Tips To Know About Deer Eating Apples
Like children with candy, deer will gobble up apples if they find them. Sadly, the effects of too many apples are much worse for deer than too much candy is for children. Rather than becoming plump, the deer may die.
Here are more helpful tips to know about deer eating apples.
- People often recommend feeding deer, especially when the seasons are harsh. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it a good idea.
- A few apples will not hurt the deer. Not only can deer eat and enjoy apples, but they also provide extra carbs, which can benefit deer who eat apples sparingly.
- If you want to give your local deer a nice treat, consider offering them nuts instead. Deer love pecans and acorns, but more importantly, they won’t hurt the deer as apples can.
It may seem cute to feed deer apples, corn, or other fruits and vegetables, but it can have deadly consequences. Deer stomachs are attuned to woody plants, seeds, lichen, and even mushrooms.
Sadly, that means they cannot handle much fruit because it will sit in their bodies and ferment. The resulting gas buildup can kill the deer.
Save your fruit for pies to share with human friends and let the deer eat what’s best for them instead.