Hunters and animal lovers alike are all enthusiastic about feeding deer during winter. In this time of year, animals struggle to find food which is why we decide to help them out by leaving some food and water for them outside. Maybe you want to encourage them to visit your garden, maybe you just don’t want them to be hungry, but whatever the case, you have to do it right. Many deer die each winter due to wrong feeding. There is a right and a wrong way to do it and we’re going to tell you how you should approach this whole deer feeding process so that you don’t harm the animals while trying to help them.
There is more to this than just leaving the food outside for them to find it. Supplemental feeding can improve their survival chances and increase the population of deer. The first big rule of deer feeding is to not use corn or other fermentable carbohydrates. Deer often die as a result of a sudden intake of grain. This can cause a change in the microbial population in the rumen which leads to an increase of lactic acid and leads to death after only one to three days.
It takes deer some time, around 2 to 4 weeks to completely adapt to the new diet, so you should gradually introduce them to the new types of food. As they typically eat vegetation that they manage to find in the forest, food that has high levels of fat or carbohydrates can be harmful and even kill them.
The safest option would be to buy supplemental deer food and mix it with their natural diet for a beginning. This will help them adapt to the new food. As their natural food will decrease or disappear completely during winter, it’s smart to start the process of adaptation before winter. Deer food mixes can be bought at pet stores and feed mills. They will provide deer with the necessary minerals, vitamins, and nutrients.
You can always improvise the deer feeder, but it would be smart to buy one. The feeder should be big enough to accommodate the deer you will feed, suggest experts from Feed That Game. They should also be able to hold enough food so that you don’t have to refill it often. It seems that too much contact with the feeder will cause you to leave too much scent on it which will make deer nervous.
Also, when choosing a feeder, go for something that is easy to install. You can find some that come pre-assembled, but you’d still need to set it up. One of the best choices is an automatic deer feeder which releases food as they’re being used. They often come with a battery and a solar panel so you don’t have to worry too much about the battery dying. However, since the feeder is placed outside, you want to choose something that is durable and can withstand bad weather and the changing climate – sun, rain, and wind.
Simply keep in mind that when you’re feeding deer, you have to choose the food properly as well as a feeder. That will make your job easier and deer happy and healthy.