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Do Deer Eat Almonds? (How To Protect Almond Plants From Deer?)

Yes, deer would love to eat every almond you offer to them. Almonds are a tasty and nutritious treat for deer. However, not all almonds are safe to eat, and deer can’t solely survive on almonds due to a lack of some vital vitamins needed for deer growth.

That’s your one-way ticket to answer, but there’s much more to know if you’re a person who either loves to help deer choose nutritious forages or wants to protect your almond trees from deer.

This article is got you covered in all those areas.

Do deer eat almond trees?

A deer from a group several deer is eating something direct from the tree by stretching it's neck.

It depends on the context you’re asking. Deer can not eat the full-grown almond trees as it is not practically possible for them to reach that height without any extra support like leaning on it or jumping. The size of almond trees varies a lot in different places, from 10 to 30 feet in height. You better know the type of almond tree you have.

As a rule of thumb, if you can easily touch the leaves of almond trees from the grounds, then deer reaching it is not far from possible. But usually, they are taller, and deer couldn’t get the mature almond trees as their neck might hurt.

But if you’re asking this question for your recently planted almond trees, then you better keep some protection on them, like the round-fencing at each baby tree. Because when the trees are in the plant stage, they are much easier to munch on and even juicier to resist.

Can deer smell almonds?

There are two types of almonds; sweet and bitter. Deer have a powerful sense of smell – 59 times stronger than humans and 1.35 times more potent than that dogs. So deer can smell both sweet and bitter almonds; however, as sweet almonds have a mild scent, it needs to be much closer to deer range than the bitter almond, as they have a powerful scent due to cyanide.

But, in terms of trick and treat, deer would come closer to sweet almonds despite there being no way to choose the bitter one as it has deathly characteristics.

Do deer eat soaked almonds?

Yes, deer do eat soaked almonds. Take it in the proper context, I am talking about the sweet almond as bitter almond is always toxic, and soaking will not do much of help.

But as far as our grocery almond is concerned, I would always recommend first soaking it for a few hours before inviting deer to the party because hard almond is considered hard to digest. And it needs more energy to break down by the microbes present in the stomach.

Also, almonds are high in oxalate (22 almonds – one ounce contains 122 milligrams of oxalate), which is not ideal for both a human and a deer to have higher quantities in urine. According to research, soaked almonds could cause a 6.7 to 20 percent oxalate reduction.

Moreover, deer would yield more from soaked almonds, as they are easy to break by the digestive system and increase the likelihood of higher nutrient absorption.

Do deer eat almond shells or raw almonds?

Deer have no problem eating and digesting the shells of almonds and the raw-fresh almonds from the trees because they have a solid and complicated digestive system – they can say they have four chambers in the stomach. You can imagine that deer will easily digest cellulose from the plant leaves that humans struggle to.

It is possible due to the deer’s symbiotic relationship with the microorganism. Though soaked almonds will hasten this process, even the raw ones would not be hard to break.

The only problem that can come is chewing the dry shells of almonds. For this, either you can give them the green bodies that are easier to chew and have a somewhat salty taste, or if it is coming from an almond harvester, you should take appropriate measures to soften them a bit and make them easier to chew.

Do all deer species eat almonds?

Yes, assuming that all deer species are considered ruminants, they have the same type of digestive system, maybe more or less developed. They can eat almonds. I can even say that all deer species would love to nibble on almonds due to their soft texture, sweet flavor, and milkiness while chewing.

However, as you will see later in this paper, deer would absorb all required nutrients, excluding calcium, because of the oxalate presence.

Can deer eat any variety of almonds?

Nope! There are many varieties of almonds – mouth babbling list of California almonds – Monterey, Butte/Padre, Carmel, Independence, Aldrich, Mixed, Fritz, Wood Colony, Sonora, Price, Winters, Suparbell, etc. There are even more varieties of almonds – many are known, but not most are still hidden.

Whatever the bluff is, you can categorize any almond in two – bitter and sweet. Deer can eat all known sweet almonds without even blinking about dangers because the things present in them are not of that extent to cause any harmful effect.

On the other hand, Deer would avoid bitter almonds any time you give them because papers have suggested that eating 6-10 raw bitter almonds are more than enough to cause severe poisoning in adults while munching 50 or more can lead to death. The smaller number would do the same with children and young adults.

Nevertheless, these numbers are calculated for humans, and still, research needs to be done on the deer side. Still, anatomically, humans and deer are both herbivorous, so the food that can lead to death in humans would severely affect deer anatomy, so better avoid feeding bitter almonds to deer.

But, you don’t have to worry much about it for two reasons; one, only sweet almonds are sold in grocery stores, and two, deer are concentrated selectors and have a strong sense of smell to sense the solid offensive scent of bitter almonds. However, taking your measurements is the way to go.

How healthy are almonds for deer?

The most vital nutrients that deer need for proper growth and survival are protein, calcium, phosphorus, calories or energy, Vitamins (A, C, D, E, and K), and water. Deer also need zinc, iron, magnesium, potassium, and chorine but in minimal amounts.

Rumen microbes sufficiently produce vitamin K; Vitamin D would come quickly with sufficient exposure to sunlight. Vitamin A and E would be of primary concern; let’s see whether almonds attract these required nutrients in adequate quantities.

NutrientsValue (In Grams, Milligrams) (gm, mg)
Protein6g
Fiber4g
Calcium75mg
Phosphorus136mg
Calorie165
Vitamin E7.3mg
Vitamin AVery little
Vitamin C and DVery little
Potassium210mg
Iron1 mg
Source: almonds.com/why-almonds/health-and-nutrition/nutritional-value

As you can see, almonds are rich in protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and some vitamin E. Verry little Vitamin A, C, and D. So if you want to include some protein and mineral-rich diet into the deer’s routine, then you can be given them almonds as a supplement.

However, pleasure ensures soaking them to reduce the oxalate content. It will take less calcium from almonds to form calcium oxalate to excrete in the form of urine, and the rest of the calcium will be absorbed by the body.

How to feed almonds to deer?

It would help if you did not feed almonds to deer every day and all day long. Because deer can not survive solely on them, it causes a lack of nutrients and water content in it. You should also include other forages like cabbages, bananas, apples, cereal grass, peanuts, green beans, kidney beans, carrots, etc., to fulfill different requirements and lessen the dependency on one meal. Just make sure they’re edible to deer.

Giving deer 15-20 soaked or even dry almonds per day would fulfill some of the significant protein and mineral requirements.

How to protect my almond trees from deer?

Almonds hanging in tree and started breaking the shell.

If you’re worried that deer attacks would not allow your almond trees to mature into full-grown profit producers, you can take some measures.

Please consult the state law as the permits may be required for some or all of these steps and may be prohibited in your area.

Fence

Fences should surround all the almond planting areas and must be specifically designed to prevent the entry of deer taller than 8 inches.

Here is the list of fences that you can install depending on the deer attacks and cost-affordability.

  • 8-10 feet tall high tensile fence, plastic mesh fence, a metal weaved or net fence, vertical electrical fence.
  • Double fences,
  • Electric tape and peanut butter fences may be effective in certain conditions.
  • We buried electronic fence with radio-collared herding dogs.

Fence for each almond tree

Instead of fencing the whole planting area, you can install tree shelters, round mesh fences, wire mesh, etc., to cover the specific almond tree you want to protect.

Repellents

Many deer repellent plants, scents, and trees would help keep the deer away mainly because either these plants have a strong aroma categorized under offensive smell. Such plants are yarrow, tansy, artemisia, ranunculus, etc. You can grow these plants near almonds tree to resist the deer, though make sure that none of the resistive plants stop the growth of your trees.

Population Control

I am against hunting any animal that is not offensive and destructive. But it becomes highly needed when deer become offensive in nature and either start destroying the farmer’s livelihood or become mad, and there is no other choice left than hunting.

If you think your area has a high population of deer that is destroying your almond or any other field, consult with the local governments about your issue and hunting permit. They will tell you which deer to hunt and which not. For some people, hunting is crueler than a need-for-situation.