It can be fascinating to see deer in your yard. Whether you are at home trying to coax a deer into your backyard or out camping, trying to feed the wild, it is important to know what food is an appropriate choice and which is not. Many people will ask, can deer eat bread?
Deer can eat bread and enjoy the taste. You can offer deer small amounts of bread without any harm. However, too much bread can lead to serious health issues and even death.
If you feel inclined to offer a deer a slice of bread, have at it. Just be careful they don’t gain access to more than a slice or two at a time.
Can Deer Eat Bread?
Deer are relatively docile creatures that will often have no issues coming up to humans if they are reached out to offer them a slice of bread or even a few crumbs. So, for most people, grabbing a loaf and feeding these animals for entertainment and close contact isn’t something we second guess.
Deer can eat bread, and they will. Chances are more likely than not; these nimble creatures will keep taking bits and pieces from your hand until you completely run out.
However, it is crucial you never go overboard offering this carb-filled food to these beautiful animals. Too much bread can cause a lot of damage and even death.
What Nutritional Value Can Bread Offer Deer? (Is White or Whole Grain a Better Option?)
Bread doesn’t provide deer very much nutrition at all. Deer require a high amount of protein to thrive, which bread does not offer. It also doesn’t provide much in the way of vitamins and nutrients either. This means bread doesn’t provide very much to these wild animals that can help them maintain optimal health and growth.
Now, whole grain bread can be considered a healthier option, even though it should still only be offered in limited quantities. At least, whole grain bread provides deer with grains that are essential to their daily diet intake.
How Much Bread Can a Deer Eat?
The amount of bread a deer can eat is going to differ greatly compared to how much bread a deer can eat without becoming seriously ill.
Deer are known for gobbling up as much food as possible when offered, But when it comes to bread products, less is better.
Since there is little nutritional value in bread and not typical for a deer’s natural diet, providing no more than a slice per deer is acceptable.
Too much bread can cause
- Lactic acidosis
- Excessive weight gain
- Insufficient nutrients
- Lack of protein
With that said, only offer deer bread when you can control the amount they eat and never leave a large amount out in hopes multiple deer will come to enjoy the snack.
Reasons Deer Shouldn’t Eat Bread
Most people who feed bread to deer do it for kind and compassionate reasons. Nevertheless, in doing this, they can be putting these animals in harm’s way.
Aside from the serious, negative, and health effects listed above, there are other reasons feeding deer bread should be avoided.
It can cause deer to spread harmful diseases from one to another- Deers can spread harmful diseases such as Chronic Waste Disease, from one to another, while gathering in common feeding areas. This disease is becoming all too common in the US, where the deer population is high.
It can cause deer to trust humans and lead them to traffic, hunters, and trappers- Deers can build a sense of safety around humans after being hand-fed, which can lead them to trust the wrong people or situations.
It can cause deer to show up where they are not wanted- Once fed, a deer can remember where to go when they are hungry. If you are handing out slices of bread in your backyard, you can expect these animals to keep coming back and they might bring friends.
Hand feeding can reduce deer hunting for their own food- If you offer deer bread and other types of food, they might get used to being hand-fed and won’t go out to find their own food. This can be a huge issue, especially when you stop feeding them.
What Can You Feed Deer Instead of Bread?
Like any other wild animal, deer need to eat what they can obtain from nature. Because bread isn’t a natural source of food, it isn’t going to be the best option to maintain a normal and healthy diet.
For most deer a typical daily menu includes
- Forbs- Broadleaf plants other than grass
- Browse- Twigs and shoots
- Mast (Hard Mast and Soft Mast).- fruits of the trees and shrubs of the forest that fall and accumulate on the floor, such as acorns, crab apples, berries, etc.
- Lichens- Fungus and algae build up on trees (dual organisms)
As you can see, baked goods have no place in this list of options, making it a snack not an essential food. Providing them with items that will provide benefits to their health such as apples, vegetables, and leafy plants, is a much better way to connect with wild deer without harming them.
See a previous post: Will Ammonia Kill Grass?
Summing Things Up
Although deer can eat bread and will eat as much as you are willing to provide, it isn’t the best idea to offer it to them. If you want to hand feed one of these animals, you should consider giving them items they would typically eat in their natural habitat, ensuring you aren’t creating a problem that will only get worse over time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it Dangerous to Feed Deer Bread?
It isn’t harmful to you to feed deer bread. These creatures are naturally calm and are becoming more and more docile and friendly to humans over time. However, it is dangerous to overfeed them bread or to increase the chances of them habitually trusting people and traffic.
Can Fawns Eat Bread?
Fawns are born with pretty adaptable diet habits that can easily mimic that of their parents. However, babies have much more sensitive digestive systems that can be negatively affected by feeding them high carb, sugar, and caloric items.
While a small amount of bread probably won’t do fawns any harm, it is better to stray from giving it to them nonetheless, ensuring their safety and maintaining optimal health, ensuring proper growth and strength.
Why Feed Deer Bread?
The answer to this question will look a lot different depending on who you ask. Farmers will feed deer for two different reasons. One is to fatten them up and keep them well fed in order to have healthy and large animals to hunt when the time is right.
They also do this to keep these animals close to their property making it easier to find them. Other people feed deer simply because it is exciting and can bring joy to those who love nature, or they feel they are helping them out by providing food to animals so they don’t have to hunt for it themselves.
Hey, I’m Lisa and I’ve been an avid gardener for over 30 years. I love writing, talking and living in the garden! Feel free to connect with me on my socials below