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Thread: Deer Diet - Your experience please.

  1. #1

    Deer Diet - Your experience please.

    I am currently doing some research into the food eaten by deer in the UK and would appreciate it if anyone could help. I want to find out what you have seen deer eat and when. I have included below a few examples from my own experience of the last 12 months:

    Muntjac - Hawthorth leaves - May
    Fallow - Crab apples - September

    I hope others may also find the responses to the thread interesting.

    Best regards


  2. #2
    Roe deer- Neeps- Dec, jan and feb.
    Always think before you pull that trigger.

  3. #3
    new shots on bramble ,plantain, rape plants in winter. often see roe on fodder beet at this time of year.

    and of course the tops out of trees
    Last edited by roedeerred; 19-01-2015 at 09:27. Reason: forgot the obvious

  4. #4
    Roe, New shoots from Rose bushes in June, a large number of plants over several visits.

  5. #5
    Red deer on the Isle of Wight graze on volunteer cereals in stubble in autumn and winter. Taller herbage and coarse grasses at field margins and hedgerow bases in summer with the odd bite taken from the new growth on deciduous trees. Pasture at any time of year but from my observations they seem to mainly graze rather than browse.

    atb Tim
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    Isle of Wight Deer
    Last edited by timbrayford; 19-01-2015 at 14:28.

  6. #6
    SD Regular teyhan1's Avatar
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    Berkshire then Dorset now Herefordshire with a good dose of Dorset
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    Gardens & Deer by Charles Coles has an extensive list of what are eaten by deer and what seem to never be eaten by deer.
    Generally they will find what is the best food available at that time of year. That's why Roe tend to 'herd' in the winter. Nothing to do with 'herding' everything to do with turning up in the same place for the best food available.
    Victims of their own digestive systems.
    “Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”........Dalai Lama

  7. #7
    Thanks gents

  8. #8
    Watching roe earlier today, browsing on osr.

  9. #9
    In looking at what deer eat, it is important to consider their preferences & what choice is available. They will eat their preferred food first, but if that becomes short they will switch. I hosted a research project conducted by a University & Govt authority on one of my places,although it was mainly looking at "deer deterrents". It was an eye opener as to what deer will eat when they are given different choices & the novelty & suspicion of new food is gone. Some surprising results! Rusa appear to enjoy Mexican chilli powder?

    I now use red deer as a biological control on prickly pear cactus in some places, & sambar to control sifton/biddi bush, antelope on thistles, & chital on fire weed to name a few. These are things that most hunters are completely oblivious to. Using hunters for this research may be a good start & you will get the most commonly used & preferred food species ,but you won't get a definitive list unless you just use rumen samples exclusively. This will require monthly samples, as the seasons, availability & choice change & from location to location.

    "Men Who Stare at Deer."

  10. #10
    and they love wheat from our feeders at times seem to be eating more than the birds

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