With hunting season upon us, you may be wondering, can deer eat bread?
Deer are pretty resilient when it comes to there diet, but bread should be used with caution.
Deer will keep eating food like bread until it is gone. And bread is not exactly nutrient dense.
You may enjoy drawing deer into your yard so that you can observe them and enjoy their presence, but you are likely doing more harm than good by doing so.
Do Deer Eat Bread? Of Course!
First things first, will deer eat bread?
Of course they will! They love it, especially white bread!
Pictures and videos can be found all over the internet of deer eating bread.
If you have ever had a deer in your backyard, you might have even been feeding deer bread yourself.
But before you rush out and by a loaf of fresh Wonder Bread, you might want to reconsider…
Is Bread Bad for Deer?
Let’s face it…
Deer love bread.
But while a slice or two of bread won’t hurt a wild deer, more than that can start to become problematic.
In order to be properly nourished, deer need the right blend of nutrients in their diet. A diet consisting of approximately 16% protein is ideal for deer.
Last time I checked, there isn’t a whole lot of protein in that stale loaf of bread.
In fact, there isn’t much nutritional value in bread at all.
Start feeding a person an excess amount of bread in addition to their normal diet and watch what happens… They will get fat and their health will decline!
Excessive amounts of bread will do the same thing to deer and may even result in excess amounts of lactic acid build up in their bloodstream.
Deer Eat, and Eat, and Eat…
The other main issue with feeding deer bread is that like with most foods sources, once they start, they don’t like to stop.
Many people like to leave bread out to attract deer, but this can do more harm than good.
While it might not sound like a big deal if deer are eating too much, it can disrupt their digestive systems and in rare cases actually cause death.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
Another major concern with feeding deer bread is that it invites a common feeding location for more than one deer. With the rampant spread of chronic wasting disease, you are only encouraging the problem to become worse.
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has become a major problem for deer populations all over the United States.
CWD is a prion disease. Prion diseases are transmissble spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). They are a neurodegenerative disease, which means they degrade the nerological system.
In deer this typically exhibits itself as “wasting”. The deer rapidly loses weight and muscle mass, appearing as if they are wasting away (they are).
CWD numbers are on the rise so it is important to do whatever we can to help stop it from spreading.
Unfortunately there is no cure for CWD. Once a deer or deer population has become infected, they will suffer
CWD is highly contagious. And the main source of transmission is when deer share a food source.
Can Humans Get Chronic Wasting Disease?
So far, there haven’t been any reported cases of a human contracting CWD.
Some experts believe that it may be possible so it is recommended to never eat any meat you believe might be contaminated.
What to Feed Deer Instead of Bread
Deer are much better suited to eating feed that mimics their natural diet.
Corn is a common feed used to attract deer. But as we outlined in another article, there are much better things to feed deer besides corn.
We recommend giving that article a read if you are considering supplemental feeding for deer. You best bet is to provide deer with a properly grown food plot so the deer can feed in a more natural way on a diet they are better adapted to.
- Extremely Attractive and Nutritious
- Scientifically developed specifically for deer, providing maximum protein, attractiveness and tonnage
- Promotes antler growth and Overall herd health
- Extremely Attractive and Nutritious
- Extremely attractive cool tolerant peas that establish quickly and provide lush attractive forage
- Excellent plot for bow season and early firearm season
Feeding Deer Bread, If You Must
If you insist on feeding deer in your backyard some bread, follow these guidelines:
- Feed a deer no more than one piece of bread each
- Don’t leave a bunch of bread out for a group of deer to share
- Don’t feed them bread more often than once a month
Hopefully now you will think twice before feeding deer bread. There are much healthier ways to feed deer that encourage the population and their health to flourish.
The risks of overfeeding and chronic wasting disease are serious. We do not want our deer populations
If you insist on feeding deer, checkout the article linked above for more healthy supplemental feeding suggestions.
Deer aren’t the only animals that love bread. If you’re interested, take a look at our article can turkeys eat bread.