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Do Deer Eat Alfalfa? (Read This First!)

Alfalfa is an edible plant and many people use it to feed their pet horses and rabbits. But feeding deers may not always be on the agenda.

But if your area is visited by deers often, you might want to learn whether deers eat alfalfa at all? Should you be concerned for your plant?

In this article, we will answer more questions along that line. So without further ado, let’s find out.

Do deer eat alfalfa?

Deers eat alfalfa wherever they find them. And they cause much damage to the production of alfalfa every year. Deers destroy alfalfa plants and this results in a significant reduction in the production of alfalfa. However, with a few simple steps, you can get keep deer away from alfalfa.

Deers eat alfalfa. In fact, they love these plants because of their fiber-rich content. They keep the deers fed for a long time.

In the past, alfalfa was used as a forage to find deers. These plants would attract deers from all around, which would help hunters hunt deers at large. Even today, hunters plant alfalfa to lure in deers to their grounds.

The alfalfa plants are great in taste and suit the taste buds of deers really well. They also make very healthy and nutritious food for the deers.

In addition, the plants are rich in fiber, so they boost the digestion in deers greatly. All these factors contribute to why deers love to eat alfalfa. 

Alfalfa Pellets:

Deer eat the alfalfa pellets. In fact, it is the part of the alfalfa plant that they love to eat the most. Deers can digest the alfalfa pellets rather easily which makes them very fond of this plant.

Deers will starve if they keep on eating food that they cannot digest. So the alfalfa pellets come as a relief to their stomach. They will eat the alfalfa pellets as long as it is in a good condition.

Alfalfa cubes:

Deers will eat alfalfa cubes as long as it is in good condition. The alfalfa cubes provide wonderful nutrition values, which is healthy for the deers. Eating it in small quantity saves the deer a lot of food-hunting work.

However, if the alfalfa cubes get wet, they are completely wasted. Deers cannot eat them in such a condition.

Alfalfa hay bales:

Deers will eat alfalfa hay bales, especially the whitetail deers. In fact, this is one of the very few hays that deers eat. Most other hays are useless if you need food for a deer.

The alfalfa hay bales are great food for deers because they are rich in nutrition, highly palatable, and very easy to digest. All these factors make alfalfa a great food for deers.

Does alfalfa attract deer?

Yes, alfalfa attracts deers very well. These plants make delicious and healthy food for deers. So it is very easy to lure deers into the grounds if you plant some alfalfa.

Alfalfa plants are rich in nutrition. They come with high protein contents which can satisfy a majority of a deer’s diet.

In addition, these plants are very easy to digest for deers, they are highly palatable. So deers are naturally drawn towards such plants.

And alfalfa happens to be common in the northern and southern regions of the USA. The alfalfa plants in those regions are often attacked by deers.

And they can destroy the plants while eating them. As a result of which, the yield of alfalfa plants reduces by a significant quantity.

2 reasons why deer eats alfalfa

Deers like to eat the alfalfa plants. Here are a few reasons why deers like to eat alfalfa:

Highly digestible:

The alfalfa plants are highly digestible. So deers are naturally drawn towards these plants. If deers keep on eating plants that are hard to digest or do not digest at all, then they will starve.

So every once in a while, deers hunt for digestible food like alfalfa. Alfalfa is a commonly grown plant in the southern and northern regions of the US, where they attract a lot of deers towards them.

Highly nutritious food:

Besides being highly digestible, the alfalfa plants also make very nutritious food for the deer. Different parts of the alfalfa plants bear different kinds of nutrition. So this plant is able to meet almost the majority of the diet needs of deers. 

This is one of the main reasons why deers eat alfalfa. The alfalfa plants are great for their diet. Deers are left satisfied for several hours after they consume alfalfa plants.

What deers eats alfalfa?

There are several types of deers who eat alfalfa. Different deers eat different parts of the alfalfa plants. Here’s a brief discussion on what types of deer eat alfalfa plants:

Whitetail deer:

As we mentioned earlier, the whitetail deer love to eat alfalfa hay. This is perhaps the only type of hay that these beers can eat.

Their body cannot digest any other type of hays, and instead withdraws when they consume other hays.

The whitetail deers also eat other parts of the alfalfa plant. They eat alfalfa cubes as long as it is found in an ideal condition.

Mule deer:

No, mule deer do not generally eat alfalfa. They prefer not to indulge in this plant because they cannot digest grassy plants well. Instead, mule deers prefer to eat woody plants, such as browse and mast.

The mule deers eat the twigs and leaves of these plants. In addition, note that the mule deers make great use of cactus and succulents that are generally found in the deserts.

Mule deers are commonly found in the western USA, where plants like cactus and succulents grow in abundance. Since they do not find much alfalfa where they come from, these animals would rather not eat these plants.

Blacktail deer:

Blacktail deer live in the rainforest area where there is an abundance of alfalfa plants. These deers eat the browse of alfalfa plants.

They find most of their nutrition from plants such as alfalfa, agoseris, clovers, and more.

Axis deer:

Yes, the axis deer eat the alfalfa plants. They prefer to eat the Chaffee and hay of alfalfa plants. In addition, these deers love to eat the corn of alfalfa plants.

What time of year do deer eat alfalfa?

Deers eat alfalfa plants whenever they can find them in a good condition. These plants are generally found to be around during the summer. The alfalfa plants are, in fact, used to forage deers into the certain ground during the summer.

The alfalfa plants are highly digestible and palatable. Deers love to eat these plants because they are nutritious. Needless to say, these plants are also very fulfilling. So deers are naturally attracted to alfalfa plants.

It is not ideal to feed alfalfa hay during the winter. It can harm them because they run low on food sources during that time. You should not feed alfalfa hay to deers when they are running low on other food sources.

How long will deer eat alfalfa?

Deer can eat alfalfa for almost the entire year. But they prefer to eat the alfalfa plant during the summer months because that’s when the plant is tender and green.

So the plant offers the best taste and nutritious values during the summer months.

But they can be eaten pretty much the entire year, as long as they are in decent condition.

And the harvesting time for alfalfa plants varies from region to region. It largely depends on the weather of a certain region. So deers will eat alfalfa whenever they can find the plant in green, tender, and decent condition.

What do deer love to eat the most?

The diet of deers is diversified. A wide range of food makes up their diet. Their are some food that they absolutely love and some that they eat just because of their availability.

The food that deers eat the most are acorns, hickory nuts, pecans, and more. They also eat a large number of fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, apples, and more. Deers will never pass on fruit, they love to eat them.

In addition, deers eat palatable plants like alfalfa because these are highly nutritious and digestible. These plants are very appealing to deers and they eat these very often.

Final Thoughts

Deers eat alfalfa quite often. They love to eat alfalfa because these plants are highly digestive, palatable, rich in nutrition, and quite available. They like to indulge in these plants in their green and tender condition. Deers eat it in many forms, including hays, cubes, and more.