Do Deer Eat Pumpkins?

Do Deer Eat Pumpkins

Last Halloween, we had a bunch of leftover pumpkins and we had no idea what to do with them. The first thing that came across my mind was to feed them to deer but I wasn’t sure whether deer eat pumpkins or not. So, I started searching on the internet but didn’t get a clear answer. Therefore, in curiosity to test it out myself, I took all of the pumpkins and tossed them into my garden for deer to eat. Here is what I found.

So, do deer eat pumpkins? Yes, deer love to eat pumpkins. Deer like to eat the pumpkin guts more than the shell so it is advised to break open the pumpkin before feeding them to deers. Deer eat both pumpkin plants and the ripen pumpkin. In the summer they like to feed on the leaves of pumpkin plants, whereas in the fall, they would feed on the fruit.   

The same night I dumped smashed pumpkins, a deer came and ate one huge pumpkin completely from inside. The whole scene was recorded by my wife and I really enjoyed watching it. Deer came regularly for a few days until pumpkins were finished. I can surely say, they enjoyed the treat.

One thing that I noticed in deer behavior is initially they eat the pumpkin guts and leave the rinds behind. But after a month, they come back and feed on the leftover rinds due to lack of vegetation to eat in the winter season.

Feeding Pumpkins To Deer

A lot of people do not know what to do with their pumpkins after Halloween. Most of the people throw them away in the trash cans where it rots up. Only a few people care to feed these to animals that love to eat pumpkins like chickens, ducks, and deer. Yes, ducks also like to eat pumpkins.

Pumpkins are among deer’s favorite fruits in the fall and if you live in the area surrounded by a lot of deer, you can treat them with big ripen pumpkins.

So in order to feed pumpkins to deer, you first need to smash open the pumpkins so it is easier for deer to eat. Otherwise, deer try to crush them with their hooves which would be difficult for them in case of hard-shelled pumpkins.

Then find a suitable area such as your garden or forest where deer visit regularly and dump those pumpkins there. My house is near to the forest and the garden is open, so there isn’t any difficulty for deer to visit my garden.

After this, just wait for a couple of nights and you’ll notice, pumpkins are either completely gone or mostly eaten by deer.

Do Pumpkins Attract Deer?

Yes, deer love to feed on pumpkins as well as pumpkin plants. My cousin had grown a lot of pumpkins in her garden and every night she used to chase down the deer to drive them away from the garden.

Deer likes the scent of pumpkin plants and they love the taste of fresh pumpkin plant leaves. For this reason, they get attracted to pumpkin fields in the summer.

Even though deer like eating pumpkins they are not their top favorite food. Deer also have a lot of other foods that they love to eat more than pumpkins such as corn, acorns, beans, grass, evergreen plants, cultivated vegetables like sweet potatoes, rye, etc.

So, if you notice a deer not eating pumpkins it is either it is in the starvation mode or there are a lot of other things to eat such as corns that they love more than anything.


Are Pumpkins Healthy For Deer?

Yes, pumpkins are healthy fruits even for deers. Pumpkins are rich in fiber content, vitamin C and potassium that provides a good amount of nutritional value to deer.

Pumpkin guts are filled with fiber-rich content that increases bone strength in the deer’s body. Also, deer also eat pumpkin seeds along with the guts which are a high-fat source for any animal. Deer especially tries to eat fat-rich content in their body in order to store enough fat in their body to survive winters.

So, pumpkin seeds provide a good amount of fat to deer. Overall, pumpkins are a nutrition-rich source of food that is very healthy for deer. So, if you are planning to feed pumpkins to deer do not hesitate a bit.


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