Deer eat kudzu, and they even sleep inside it. Deer like kudzu due to its high protein content. In addition, kudzu grows fast; thus, it provides the deer with a bedding cover that acts as camouflage against predators.
This article offers you a complete guide on the deer and kudzu relationship.
You will also learn tips on managing or completely eradicating kudzu and much more.
Ready, let us begin
Do deer like to eat different parts of kudzu?
Kudzu meets all of the above-stated points; hence, deer will eat the plants:
- Vine tips
Deer especially love kudzu’s leaves and roots, for they are easy to digest and tasty.
Moreover, bucks mostly feed on kudzu during summer and early fall. You will also occasionally find them munching on the plant.
When winter sets in, all the kudzu dies off, but they grow again—deer-like eating the blooming leaves once winter is over.
Do deer eat kudzu seeds?
Deer will eat kudzu seeds, but they are not a favorite—many mature deer with well-developed taste buds avoid kudzu seeds.
Instead, they go for the plant’s leaves and roots. On the other hand, fawns, curious like all children, will eat more seeds.
The main reason deer don’t eat many kudzu seeds is that they are contained in flat, and hair pods, and deer avoid hairy plant parts.
Are there any poisonous species of kudzu to avoid feeding deer?
There are roughly 15 species of kudzu presently spread around the world. Scientists are yet to document any among them to be poisonous to deer.
With the continuous research and studies, who knows, they may identify one or two or none at all to be poisonous. All we can do now is wait and see.
Is kudzu healthy for deer?
Most people compare kudzu (P.Montana) to Alfalfa (Medicago Sativa) since kudzu leaves have a high amount of nutrients similar to alfalfa.
Some deer farm owners have started growing and feeding fresh or dry kudzu to their deer herds.
So what are the exact nutritional befits that kudzu offers to deer? We have outlined them in the table below
100grams of kudzu constitutes
Depending on the age of the deer, they need adequate amounts of calcium and phosphorous to avoid developing osteomalacia or rickets.
Biologists recommend a calcium intake of between 0.17% to 1.53%, and as you have seen, kudzu meets this need, providing 1.11%.
The world over, scientists describe the phosphorous deficiency in grazing animals as the leading cause of failed growth.
Lack of adequate phosphorus in a deer’s diet may lead to
- Low milk production
- Reduced growth rate
- Anestrus- productive incompetence
- Fragile bones
Thus, grazers like deer consistently require between 0.6% to 0.7% of phosphorus to avoid all of the above-stated issues.
Kudzu more than meets this need by providing 1.78% phosphorous and considering it grows fast. Deer can be sure of a consistent supply.
Deer require sufficient protein for normal body functioning and maintenance, antler growth (especially for males), and lactation.
Kudzu leaves, stems, and roots provide deer with a more than adequate protein, which is one of the main reasons they like the plant.
Please note that kudzu leaves are more nutritious compared to the stem. The table below will illustrate.
|Part||Dry matter||Crude Protein||Fiber||Total|
Do all deer species like to eat kudzu?
We cannot say that a type of deer species likes to eat kudzu and one doesn’t, for biologists haven’t proven so.
However, we can have an idea by looking at areas where kudzu is dominant and assessing the deer species available in that area.
For instance, in the United States, you will find most kudzu plants in
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Deer species found in the above-listed states
- Whitetail deer
- Mule deer
- Brocket deer
Does kudzu grow big deer?
Since kudzu is a good provider of proteins, fiber, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin 5, it will enhance deer growth.
Consequently, deer feeding on kudzu have strong bones, adequate milk production, and proper antler growth.
However, it is not only kudzu that determines deer growth. Other factors such as population density and soil fertility also play a critical role. And one key factor in feeding deer is to know when deer comes to eat and when they sleep.
Is kudzu deer resistant?
Kudzu isn’t deer resistant; they like the plant. If you were to plant it, all you would do is attract deer to your compound.
Is it illegal to plant kudzu?
Due to kudzu’s highly invasive nature, some countries have passed laws making it illegal to plant it.
For instance, in the US, the government classified kudzu in the group of noxious weeds.
Consequently, most states have passed laws against the planting of kudzu. Some of these states are
- New York.
With the increased public awareness and complaints about kudzu. More states may enforce the ban on kudzu.
Benefits or problems of having kudzu in the backyard
As with everything else, kudzu has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. We start on a positive note by looking at its benefits.
Benefits of kudzu.
Kudzu is not only nutritious to animals but also to humans. Moreover, all parts of the plant apart from the vine are edible.
Therefore, you can eat kudzu parts raw, baked, or deep-fried.
Some of the health benefits of taking kudzu:
Alcohol dependence reduction
Some studies suggest that kudzu could help lower alcohol consumption.
For example, researchers undertook a study on 17 men aged 21 to 33 who had stated they consume 22- 35 drinks weekly.
The researchers then gave a part of the group kudzu extract, and they did not give anything to the other group.
Afterward, the researchers asked the participants to record their alcohol consumption.
After two weeks, the researchers noted that participants who took the kudzu extract recorded a drop in alcohol intake by almost 35%.
Moreover, the men who drank the kudzu extract went longer without drinking than the other group.
Other health benefits of kudzu are
- Reduced inflammation
- Relieving severe headaches
- May cure liver damage
Kudzu also prevents your backyard from experiencing soil erosion, increasing the soil’s nitrogen content, and enhancing the soil’s fertility.
Unfortunately, kudzu is among one of the most invasive plant species globally. The plant may grow up to 13(30) inches daily.
It doesn’t matter whether your backyard soil is fertile or not; the kudzu will thrive.
Consequently, the plant will grow over other vegetation, including trees, taking in all the sunlight. Over time the other plants in your backyard will die due to insufficient sunlight.
Kudzu will not stop there, left uncontained; it will grow over your house, electricity poles, and even block drainage systems.
How to manage kudzu or get rid of them completely
Managing kudzu growth is not easy; the plant grows and spreads so fast that even deer feeding will not make a difference.
A homeowner in Georgia stated that he cut down all the kudzu plants in his backyard and sprayed herbicide for two months.
However, after a six-month vacation, he returned and found the plant thriving as if nothing had happened.
That should tell you that fighting kudzu is a constant battle, from which you can never relent.
Here are some tips for managing or ridding your backyard of kudzu.
Cut it down
Start by cutting all the kudzu vines. You can use a mower or a machete, depending on the spread of the vines.
Spray and spray some more
After cutting the vines, follow up by consistently applying herbicides to kill the plant completely.
Dig out the Crown
If you don’t like the thought of applying chemicals, then you can dig and remove the crown.
All the kudzu vines grow from the crown; it stores all the energy. You will have to dig around the crown and pull it whole, roots and all.
However, digging out the crown is a time-consuming and highly intensive procedure that will leave a lot of dirt and open spots.
Interesting facts and stats about kudzu
- The government introduced kudzu to prevent soil erosion and enhance soil fertility.
- In the 20th century, most states in South America were experiencing high cases of soil erosion. The government then brought in kudzu due to its extensive root system to solve the issue.
- Kudzu can cause air pollution.
- Kudzu can induct nitrogen into the soil faster than many other plants. Biologists have reported that areas where kudzu is dominant, have higher nitrogen rates.
- Kudzu also releases a lot of nitric oxide into the air, which may cause ozone pollution.
- Kudzu may grow up to two-foot daily.
- Since the early 1920s, Japanese people have used kudzu for different medicinal applications.