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What Do Deer Eat In Winter?

Posted by Jennifer Smith on

Like most mammals, white-tailed deer do less in the chilly winter months. They do not go into hibernation like bears; but they do become less active, dropping their metabolism in half. The less they move, the less they will need to eat.

There are plenty of edible plants to grow in wintertime; and deer know it, but they will have to go searching for them on lawns and gardens and brush through the snow, in some cases. Until deer find "the good stuff," they will indulge on tree bark, leaves, twigs and nuts. 

Plants that can be grown by home growers in the winter include: garlic, leeks, onions, radishes, lettuce, peas, potatoes, chard, spinach, rhubarb, and other leafy greens such as bok choy and kale. Gardeners will need to keep close eye on their winter crops and keep deer away from them with deer fencing among other deer management techniques. Planting garlic, for example, is a good idea to rid deer, as this herb is deer resistant (deer hate the taste and smell of garlic bulbs).

Deer have to eat; but it doesn't have to be from home gardens. Protect gardens from deer damage this winter.