What’s that one fruit that you can enjoy with the least hassle? Grapes. These small, juicy balls of sweetness are not only delicious but also healthy for us. We can eat their raw as well as dried versions (raisins). But can these fruits be used to feed the deer as well?
Can deer eat grapes? They certainly can. Deer are attracted to everything sweet, including grapes. They’re not only fond of these fruits but also love eating their vines. However, if you’re feeding them these, you should do so in moderation, for too much sugar can be detrimental to their health.
In this article, we will discuss all aspects of deer eating grapes. And if you’re growing grapevines in your backyard, we will also tell you how to prevent the deer from destroying them.
The natural diet of deer
Many people are of the opinion that deer are picky eaters, but this is far from the truth. In reality, these ruminants have very little reservation about their food. They’re browsers and mostly feed on trees, shrubs, and sedges. When these are not available, you can also see them munching on grass or eating fruits and berries occasionally.
However, the diet of these animals undergoes a drastic change in the winter season. When most of their food sources dry up in the winters, deer resort to eating anything they can find.
Will deer eat grapes?
As you can see in the previous section, fruits and berries are occasionally consumed by deer in the wild. But does that include all fruits? What about grapes? Deer love eating all sweet fruits, which includes grapes. So, if you’re thinking of offering some to deer, don’t worry about them saying no to it.
Are grapes healthy for deer?
Before you feed grapes to deer, you must learn about their effect on their health. Do grapes contribute to a deer’s nutritional requirements? To learn whether or not grapes are healthy for deer, you should take a look at the nutritional composition of grapes. We have a curated a chart for you below:
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.068 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.07 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.188 mg|
|Vitamin B4 (Choline)||5.6 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.04 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.087 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folates)||2mcg|
|Vitamin C||3.2 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.18 mg|
|Vitamin K||14.7 mcg|
|Dietary fiber||0.9 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
From the chart above, it is obvious that grapes have vitamins and minerals in abundance. All the minerals that deer require- calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron- are also present in these fruits.
Moreover, grapes contain Vitamin E, which plays a key role in the smooth functioning of their immune system, and protein, which is used in the maintenance of their bones, muscles, hooves, antlers, and hairs.
Thus, it is apparent that grapes are one of the healthiest fruits you can feed to deer.
Risks involved with feeding deer grapes
In the last section, we learned that deer can eat grapes. But does this mean that you can go on feeding them grapes with no adverse effects? Probably not.
While grapes do add vital vitamins and nutrients to deer’s diet, we must remember that they’re not a part of their daily diet for a good reason. This is because they have high sugar content. And even though natural sugar is not as harmful to the deer as processed sugar, too much of it can still be lethal to them.
Their digestive system is not designed to digest such high amounts of sugar, which is why it can result in their upset stomach. And then there’s always the risk of diabetes.
Therefore, you shouldn’t feed deer too many grapes; about 10-15 grapes a week should be fine.
Can deer eat wild grapes?
As the name suggests, wild grapes are the grapevines that mostly grow in deciduous forests and are popularly used as weeds. These grapes have wines much larger than the regularly cultivated grapes and fruits that are larger but less sweet.
Once washed carefully, the wild grapes are edible even for humans. So, there’s no reason why deer won’t be able to eat them. In fact, because they have a lower sugar content than the cultivated grapes, they are a safer alternative for the deer.
Can fawns eat grapes?
When you’re thinking of feeding the deer something, you have to consider whether or not it is safe for their fawns to eat. Because once the deer get habituated to visiting your yard, some of them might bring along their younger ones as well.
So, is it safe for fawns to eat grapes? Yes. Unlike the babies of most animals that have a fragile digestive system, the fawns are quite sturdy and adapt to the diet of their parents within months; whatever is safe for the adults is safe for their babies as well. You can, therefore, follow the same moderation for a fawn that you would for an adult.
Can deer eat grape vines?
There are two kinds of ruminants: grazers, which primarily feed on grasses, and browsers, which prefer to feed on trees, shrubs, vines, and sedges over grass. Deer fall into the category of browsers and are, thus, fond of munching on all kinds of vines, including the grapevines.
How to keep deer away from your vineyard
Have you grown a grapevine in your backyard and are afraid the deer might ruin it? Don’t worry, we will help you in protecting your vineyard against these nosy animals.
The first and most effective method of keeping deer away from your backyard is to get it fenced. Fences are perfect barriers that these animals don’t usually cross. While regular wooden fences work well, you should get electric just to be extra cautious.
Another way of getting rid of deer is to spray your vines with a deer repellent. You can easily find these sprays in your local pet store or online. And if you’re looking for a more cost-effective solution, you can make the repellent yourself!
All you need is eggs, garlic cloves, or yogurt (milk would work as well). Blend these ingredients with warm water, let it sit at room temperature for about 24 hours, and it is ready to be sprayed on the vines.
Other foods you can feed deer
If you’re trying to attract deer to your backyard, grapes are not your only choice. Let’s look at some of the other options you can go with:
Peanuts – Deer love peanuts because of their outer, wood-like covering. Moreover, these nuts are also rich in fiber and protein, both of which are essential parts of their diet.
Carrots – Carrots are nutritious and easily digestible for the deer, and, thus, can be fed to them without a second thought.
Strawberries – While strawberries might not be the healthiest snack for deer (because of their sugar content), they’re certainly enjoyed by them. They have a moderate amount of nutrients, but adding a small amount of them to your feeder will do the trick.
Watermelons – Watermelons are rich in lycopene (which the deer love), antioxidants, and vitamins, and are, therefore, healthy snacks for them.
Warning: Feeding a deer is declared to be illegal in some states. Therefore, you must check whether or not it is legal in your state, otherwise, the laws of your state could press charges against you.
Let’s revise what we’ve learned in this article: deer can eat grapes and are quite fond of them. These ruminants are attracted to everything sweet and would even munch on the grapevines if they had the opportunity. If you want to keep them away from the grapes growing in your backyard, fencing and deer repellents are the way to go.