In a nutshell, pumpkin is amongst a deer’s favorite foods. However, deer prefer eating the guts of the pumpkin rather than its shell, which is why you should break the pumpkin open before you feed it to a deer.
So you know your Initial answer but if you’re wondering how to properly feed pumpkins to deer (raw or cooked)? Are pumpkins healthy for deer & when should you feed pumpkins to deer? If you want to know “to-the-point” answers to these questions without any fluff then keep reading this article.
Deer Eating Habits For Pumpkins
As said deer don’t just go for the pulp of pumpkins rather the whole pumpkin plant can be their night’s meal. For that matter. deer consume both the ripe pumpkin as well as the pumpkin plants. During fall, deer prefer feeding on the actual fruit, while they like to munch on the leaves of the pumpkin plant in the summer season.
Often, the deer would initially consume just the guts, leaving the pumpkin rinds behind. However, once the winter season begins, the deer will return and feed on the leftover rinds. This is because deer struggle to find edible vegetation during winters.
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Do Deer Eat Pumpkin Vines?
As we all know, vines are a very important part as they help bring all the nutrients to the pumpkins themselves and as they can grow to 6 feet every day and can go up to 30 feet. So it is very important to protect the vines from deer.
Though deer don’t like the fuzzy stalks that much so the pumpkin vines are not much in danger they do like flowers so it is very unlikely for a deer to push his head further to leave the juicy flowers and eat the hairy vines.
How To Feed Pumpkin To Deer
Pumpkins are, of course, all the rage during Halloween. However, once the festival is over, people do not quite know what to do with the fruit and they end up throwing it in the trash can. However, a much better idea would be to feed those pumpkins to animals like deer.
As mentioned before, deer love pumpkins. So, if you reside in an area with plenty of deer, you can rest assured that they would love to feed on those ripe and large pumpkins.
Before serving pumpkins to deer, you need to first smash them open. This way, the deer will find it easier to eat the fruit. Else, they will try to use their hooves to crush the fruit open – something that they find very difficult to do, especially when the shells are hard.
After breaking the pumpkin open, you can simply place them in a spot that you know is a regular visiting spot for deer. Once this is done, just sit back and wait. There is a chance that almost all the pumpkins will be gone within the next two to three nights.
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It is important to allow deer sufficient room and space to eat the pumpkins. Being a prey animal, a deer’s survival sense is extremely developed. Hence, if the animal feels that it is being monitored in any way, it will feel threatened and turn away from the pumpkins that you have placed for them.
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Since deer are also prey animals, they will avoid entering an area if they sense the presence of humans. Remember that, even when a deer is beyond your eyeshot, it can still sense your presence.
Do Deer Find Pumpkins Attractive?
Indeed, both the pumpkin fruit and its plant are extremely attractive to deer. People growing a pumpkin garden in a deer-dominated area need to take special measures to keep the animal away.
Deer are inclined to consume the food that is most readily and conveniently available. So, if deer find pumpkin during foraging, there is a high chance that they will consume the fruit.
The taste and scent of the pumpkin plant are irresistible to deer. Therefore, they are drawn to pumpkin fields, especially during the summer when the plants are fresh.
In addition, the sharp, orange hue of the fruit means that deer can detect it from a distance, which further adds to the pumpkin attraction.
Although deer enjoy consuming pumpkins, it is not their favorite food. Evergreen plants, grass, beans, acorns, and cultivated vegetables (such as rye or sweet potatoes) are more preferable to deer than pumpkins.
Therefore, if a deer is ignoring pumpkins, it is either because some of the above foods are available to them or the deer are in starvation mode.
Often, hunters grow pumpkins for the sole purpose of attracting deer.
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Are Pumpkins Healthy For A Deer?
Pumpkin is a healthy fruit, even for deer. The fruit is rich in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, which means that deer can derive a great deal of nutritional value from pumpkins.
In addition, the pumpkin guts contain large amounts of fiber, which can help strengthen the deer’s bones. In addition, since deer also consume the pumpkin guts, they can benefit from the guts’ high-fat content. Deer are particularly attracted to fat-rich foods as they require fat to be able to survive through the winters.
The commonest type of pumpkin is the round and small type, which is often used during Halloween. You can normally find this pumpkin type in carving pumpkins and field pumpkins. Compared to carving pumpkins, field pumpkins tend to be larger and possess tougher skins.
Usually, carving pumpkins are used for recipes and other cooking purposes. Even though deer can consume green pumpkins, they do not offer as many nutrients as their orange counterparts.
Having said all that, deer can cover almost all their nutritional requirements from leaves and grass. However, this does not mean that the deer will not enjoy a pumpkin snack here and there.
Below are the nutritional details of 100 grams worth of pumpkins:
|Saturated Fat||0% (0.1 grams)||Vitamin C||15%||Iron||4%|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||0%||Vitamin B-6||5%||Cobalamin||0%|
|Carbohydrates||2%||Sodium||0% (1 mg)|
Should You Feed Raw Pumpkin To Deer?
No, a deer will only consume pumpkins that are smashed and ripe. Remember that, even if a pumpkin is cut, it might still not be ripe.
The taste, odor, and color of unripe pumpkins are likely unattractive to deer. Likely, deer are also conscious of tastes.
When Should I Feed Pumpkins To Deer?
The pumpkin seedling starts during May and the fruit grows during June and July. Pumpkins generally take a long time to grow.
The ideal time for deer feeding is before the rut. This is because this is the time when deer require a great deal of energy to breed. Remember to always feed fresh pumpkins; stale ones might end up harming the deer.
To conclude, pumpkins are both desirable to and healthy for deer. If you are planning to introduce this food to any nearby deer’s diet, we hope that the information in this guide will prove beneficial for you.
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