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Do Deer Eat Pecans? (Read This First!)

Do you want to feed deers? Or you are cultivating pecan and want to know if deers can eat pecan? This article will discuss essential details you need to know about pecans as deer food.

Keep reading to learn answers like do deers like pecan, how they eat it, is it good for them and many more.

Do deer eat pecans?

Deers eat pecans but not as much as acorns and peanuts. They are more likely to eat pecans when the food source is scarce in the winter months. Deers eat pecans when the nut is completely dry. They don’t eat the green outer part of the pecans. They can easily break the shell of dry pecan.

Pecan originated in the southern United States and northern Mexico, and it became famous for its sweet, buttery taste and its nutritional values. Pecans have about 29 types of nutrients that are very healthy for us.

But what about deers? Pecans are also healthy for the deers, but it’s not their regular food, and they don’t eat it when other food sources are available. 

Pecans are like their occasional food that helps bring a variation in their diet. They will eat pecans from time to time if the pecan is in the right shape. What do I mean by the right shape?

Deers dislike the green outer part of the pecans. Deers will not touch any green pecan. They will only eat pecan when the green part is not in the place, or the pecan is completely dried up. 

Deers are timid but curious animals. They like to browse under the trees and look for different foods they can eat. Pecans are something that they will eat a few just for variation. 

However, winter is a harsh season for the deers, and they suffer a lot in hunger as most of their natural food gets covered by the snow. Deers can lose about one-fourth of their body weight in the winter season. 

Deers will eat any edible thing they find to survive the winter. So, if they find pecans, they can eat many of them.

Deers are picky eaters, and they stick to their regular food most of the time. They eat a small number of other foods like nuts, seeds etc.

Deers’ digestive system is complicated, and they need to eat certain types of food to stay healthy. Deers’ gut has a microbial community that helps them digest and keeps them fit. Eating a lot of different kinds of food can be harmful to gut flora and their health.

They don’t eat too many pecans if they are not starving. Check out if deers eat those parts of pecan trees.

Pecan leaves:

Deers do eat fresh pecan leaves. They like the young leaves more. However, it’s not their regular food. If you are planting pecan trees and there are deers in your area, you should take steps to keep the deers away from the pecan trees.

Pecan trees:

Deers can deal significant damage to young pecan trees. Pecan trees can grow up to 100 feet, and the tree grows out of deers’ range very quickly, so deers don’t usually get a chance to eat pecan trees. 

Whole pecans: 

Deers can easily break the shell of the whole pecan and eat it. However, the shell’s toughness depends on the pecan tree species, and some pecans can be harder to break for the deers, and they may avoid it for this reason sometimes.

Young pecans: 

Deers don’t like young green pecans. They don’t eat the green part of the pecans, and they only eat the pecan that dried up nicely. Moreover, young pecans don’t usually fall on the ground.

Do deer like pecans?

Deers do like pecans, but it’s not their favorite. Moreover, pecans are not the type of food they can eat a lot. Pecans are full of protein and fat, which means there is too much energy in the pecans than their regular grass and leaf diet.

But deers can always pick a few pecans and eat them. So, do you want to feed deers with pecans? It’s possible to feed deers with pecans, but don’t overfeed. Feed them pecans like a treat—deers like acorns and peanuts more than pecan nuts. 

Acorns and pecans have similarities in taste and nutritional values, but deers like acorns more than pecans. So you can choose to feed acorns to feed the deers, to attract them.

In the winter, feeding deers can sometimes help starving deers, but overdoing it can disturb the natural balance. So, although deers stay hungry in the winter, it’s not the best time to feed the deers with pecans.

Do whitetail deer eat pecans?

Whitetail deers are the most common deers in America. They eat pecans, and a small number of pecans are good for them. Pecans are high in protein and fat. So it can help them to get energy and growth.

Pecans are also a good source of zinc and other micronutrients. Deers can eat more than 900 types, but only a few of them are their regular food. Their typical diet is essential for their good health. Pecans are among the food that deers eat occasionally.

So, if you are planning to cultivate pecans, do you need protection from whitetail deers? Yes, you need to take some protective steps to save the young pecan trees at first. An 8-foot fence can help keep your pecan trees out of the reach of the deers.

Eight foot fence can be pretty costly if you have a mid-sized pecan garden, but it is a long-term solution to keep the deers away. Commercial deer repellent also works effectively to keep the deers away from your garden. 

3 reasons why deer eat pecans

Here are some reasons why deers eat pecans.

Pecans are sweet: 

Deers like the sweet taste of pecan, although they do not eat a lot of it at once. They have to try to crack the nutshell to eat the pecan. Maybe that’s why they don’t eat too many pecans at once. 

If there is not enough food in the wild, deers will eat more pecans than usual. You can feed pecans to deers, but limit the number of nuts, don’t free-feed them.

Pecans are nutritious:

Pecans are full of energy, protein, carbohydrate and fat. A small number of pecans can give them more energy than their regular food. Deers eat 5-6 pounds of vegetation every day. That’s a lot of food. 

However, they evolved like that and eating a lot of low-calorie food is helpful for their digestion.

Taste something different:

Deers rely on certain types of food for a living, but they also need a small amount of other food to be happy. Eating various foods is essential for their health as they get different nutritions.

Do deer eat pecans in the shell?

Deers can eat pecans in the shell, but they don’t eat the whole pecan. Deers can break the shell of a pecan using their teeth. After breaking the nut, they only eat the fleshy nut inside and leave the shells. Deers eat pecans when the green part of the nut thoroughly dries up. 

Pecans are a hard nut to crack, so they don’t use too much energy to eat them. They may eat a few and start finding a different food. 

How do deer eat pecans?

Deers only eat dry pecans, as dry pecans are easy to break, and the nut is more tasty and nutritious. When the pecan is green and young, they even try to eat them. 

Deers can munch on dry pecan and easily eat the nut. But if you want to feed deers, oats are a much more reliable option. Nuts can be bad for their digestive system if they eat many of them. Oats are more like their natural food but have more protein and carbohydrates.

What kind of nuts can deer eat?

Deers eat most nuts, but acorns, peanuts, and beechnuts are their favorite. Here is a list of nuts you can feed deers.

  • Peanuts
  • Acorns
  • Pecan
  • Beechnuts
  • Hickory nuts
  • Chestnuts etc.

Final Thoughts 

Pecans are an occasional food to the deers. They also eat it as emergency food in harsh conditions if available. Deers can damage young pecan trees, so cultivators should take steps to keep the deers away from their pecan trees. Taste and smell repellents can help to keep them away.