Do Deer Eat Acorns? (Yes, here’s why)

Deer can be picky when it comes to nutrition.

deer and acorns

Not every plant or fruit is attractive to Deer but some are a delicious snack to these awesome-looking creatures.

So what about Acorns, do Deer eat acorns?

Yes, deer do eat acorns. Acorns are a great source of food for deer because they are high in protein and fat. However, Deer will also eat other nuts, such as hazelnuts and chestnuts, as well as fruits, like apples and pears.

Acorns are especially important in the winter when other food sources are scarce.

Deer can be very selective in what they eat, however.

They will only eat the ripe acorns and will ignore the unripe ones. This is because unripe acorns contain tannins, which can make them bitter and toxic. 

Ripe acorns, on the other hand, have been processed by the oak tree to remove most of the tannins. This is why you will often find deer-eating acorns near oak trees.

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Deer vs Acorns

There are many debates over the nature of deer. Some say that they are timid creatures, while others claim that they are opportunistic and aggressive. However, one thing is for sure: deer love acorns.

Oak trees produce a fruit known as an acorn, which is a favorite food of deer. Acorns are high in protein and fat, making them a nutritious snack for deer. Deer will travel long distances to find an oak tree that is producing acorns.

Deer will eat acorns directly from the tree or they will gather them up on the ground. They will also store acorns away for later consumption.

This can be beneficial to deer, as it allows them to have a food source during the winter when other foods are scarce.

Deers love to eat acorns, and they will travel long distances to find them. Acorns are one of the deer’s favorite foods, but they can also be a source of danger. Deer can quickly become overexposed to acorns, leading to health problems.

Acorns are high in calorie content, which makes them an important food source for deer.

Deer will consume large quantities of acorns when they can, but they also spread out their intake. A healthy diet for deer includes a variety of foods, including acorns, grasses, leaves, and twigs.

While deer love to eat acorns, they also need to be careful not to eat too many. Consuming too many acorns can lead to malnutrition.

A deer that eats too much acorn may take in fewer nutrients, resulting in poor health and an increased vulnerability for disease.

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Another downside of eating too many acorns is the risk of poisoning. Acorns contain tannin, which is poisonous to deer.

If there are high amounts of tannin in the area where the deer live, it could be dangerous for them to eat acorns at all.

Deer also need to be aware that other animals also look at acorns as a food source, leading squirrels to compete with them for time spent near trees.

Deer can avoid encounters with other species while they forage by spreading out their search over great distances across the forest floor.

The key to avoiding problems with acorns is moderation. If the deer eat too many, they can suffer malnutrition and disease, but if they don’t eat them enough, they will miss out on an important source of energy and nutrients in their diet.

It’s a balancing act that requires scrutiny by deer when foraging for food.

Reasons why deer love to eat acorns

Ever looked at a deer and wondered why it was eating acorns? While we might think of them as unappetizing or even unpleasant to eat, deer thrive on acorns. Here are 10 reasons why:

1). Acorns provide more than just nutrition

Acorn mast is rich in minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and iron which can help improve the health of deer herds not only physically but also mentally.

2). Antioxidants for strong bones

Acorns that have fallen from oak trees contain high amounts of antioxidants such as carotenoids and hydroxycinnamic acid derivates.

They both play an important role in lowering inflammation while strengthening bones and teeth. This can greatly reduce the chances of getting conditions like arthritis within the deer herd.

3). Acorns provide a dense source of calories and energy

Although acorn mast may not contain as many calories as other sources such as corn or soybeans, the high-calorie density per volume of acorns makes them ideal for those long periods when food is scarce. Acorn mast has an average caloric value of 4,000kcal/kg (4MJ/kg).

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4). Acorns can improve the quality of deer meat

When studies were conducted to analyze the chemical composition and fatty acid content in venison from wild white-tailed deer that were fed commercial pellets and free access to oak and pine mast (acorns and nuts) over several months.

It was shown that significant changes occurred in antioxidant capacity, fatty acid composition, and cholesterol levels in the meat. The meat from deer that had access to acorns was found to be healthier than the meat from deer that were fed commercial pellets only.

5). Acorns help deer store fat reserves

A good supply of acorns can help deer fatten up in preparation for winter.

6). Acorns improve the digestion of deer

The tannins present in acorns help to bind and precipitate proteins, which improves the digestion of deer. Tannins also have an antibacterial effect which helps to keep the digestive system healthy.

7). Acorns lower stress levels in deer

When food is scarce, it’s natural for deer to experience a certain amount of stress. Acorns contain high amounts of saponins which can help lower stress levels in deer by improving mood and enhancing cognitive abilities.

8). Acorns provide a readily available source of food during winter

The combination of a dense calorie source and the fact that they have little competition for them makes acorn mast an ideal food source for deer throughout the cold winter months when other sources of food are scarce.

9). Acorn masts generate strong, healthy offspring

Stronger deer with healthier teeth means stronger offspring. A hard mast crop is crucial to generating healthy fawns while a soft mast, on the other hand, generates more vulnerable young with softer teeth which are more susceptible to damage eating twigs and saplings.

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10). Oak trees need acorns to reproduce

Oak trees need a good supply of acorns to reproduce and continue providing mast for deer.

Deer eating

How to prevent deer from eating acorns

1). Plant acorn-resistant trees and shrubs

There are many different types of trees and shrubs that deer do not like to eat. If you plant these types of plants around your property, the deer will be less likely to eat the acorns off of your oak trees.

2). Use a deer fence

If you have a lot of deer on your property, installing a deer fence can help to keep them away from your oak trees. Deer fences are effective at keeping deer out of specific areas, and they are relatively affordable to install.

3). Put up a scarecrow

Scarecrows are a great way to deter deer from eating your plants. They can be purchased for under $50, and are very easy to set up.

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4). Use a motion-activated sprinkler

A motion-activated sprinkler will spray deer with water when they get near your acorn tree or bushes. This may make them less likely to return, but it is important not to leave the sprinkler on too often because this could damage your plants’ roots.

5). Put out human hair

Human hair has an unpleasant scent that will deter deer from eating it. You can collect hair by asking friends and family members if they have any you can use or you can go into a salon and ask for their dumpster hair as well as the hair that they sweep off of their floors each night (most salons are more than happy to donate).

6). Use pepper spray

There are many different types of pepper sprays on the market that will deter deer from eating your plants. Just be sure to read the instructions carefully before using them, as some sprays can be harmful to humans and pets.

7). Install a sonic deer repeller

A sonic deer repeller emits high-pitched noises that deer do not like. It is an affordable way to keep deer away from your property and does not require any maintenance.

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8). Set up electric fencing

Electric fencing is a great way to keep deer out of specific areas on your property, such as your garden or orchard. It is relatively affordable to install, but it does require you to get your hands on an electric fence controller. You can purchase one at most hardware stores.

9). Use mothballs

Mothballs are another way to prevent deer from eating your plants. Put them near any plants that you do not want deer eating and the smell will keep them away. Mothballs are not good for your health or the environment, so use them with caution.

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Dear & Acorns: Summary

Deer will certainly eat acorns if they are available, but they also eat a variety of other foods.

Acorns are an important source of food for deer in the fall, but they are not the only food that deer rely on. 

Deer will also eat leaves, twigs, shoots, fruits, and nuts.

Deer will eat almost anything available to them. So, while deer do like to eat acorns, they will also consume other types of food.

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