Do Deer Eat Apples? (Potential RISKS & Tips to PROTECT your Garden)

As a nature lover with a passion for all things deer, I’ve often wondered, “Do deer eat apples?” I am excited to share the truth about this question. However, it’s important to also address the potential risks of feeding deer apples, which could ultimately harm their health and disrupt their natural feeding patterns. Join me as we explore this topic together.

Do Deer Eat Apples?

Deer are known to consume a variety of food sources including leaves, twigs, fruits, and nuts. While apples are not a natural part of their diet, they are capable of eating them if they find them accessible. In areas where apples are abundant, deer may be attracted to them and consume them as a supplementary food source. However, it is important to note that feeding deer human food can be harmful to their health and disrupt their natural feeding patterns.

If you’ve ever spent time in nature, you have probably seen deer grazing on various plants, trees, fruits, and nuts. Although apples aren’t a natural part of a deer’s diet, they do eat them if they come across one. The popularity of apples among deer is due to their sweet taste which resembles candy to these munching animals.

The Dietary Habits of Deer

When it comes to the food habits of deer, it varies significantly depending on their location. For example, deer that live in the Midwest have a more diverse diet that consists mainly of agricultural crops rather than non-agricultural areas like the northeast. Although their diet changes with each passing season, woody browse comprises a large portion of their food intake during the winter, no matter where they are present.

Nutritional Value of Apples for Deer

Even though apples contain a high nutritional value for deer, they aren’t capable of digesting them correctly. That is the reason why deer often consume apples at the end of the winter season when they’ve had trouble finding food. Although feeding deer apples is generally safe, deer should not rely on apples as their primary diet. The main reason being that apples don’t provide all the nutrients they need to survive.

Is it Safe to Feed Deer Apples?

Given that apples aren’t harmful to the health of the deer, it’s all right to feed deer apples. However, you should remember that deer are wild animals and don’t rely on human food. Feeding deer apples or any other human food may disrupt their feeding habits, leading to harmful consequences. Thus, it’s best to steer clear of feeding them human food, especially since there are certain risks involved.

Risks and Benefits of Feeding Deer Apples

There are both risks and benefits to feeding deer apples. On the positive side, apples entice deer and are often used as bait. If you’re trying to get the deer to come close to you, apples can be a valuable tool. However, they’re also prone to disruptions in the deer’s natural dietary habits. You don’t want to upset their natural feeding habits, leading to potential health issues.

Alternatives to Feeding Deer Apples

If you want to attract deer, there are several alternatives to feeding them apples. You can use woody browse or acorns, which they love and are present in their natural habitats. These food sources provide the deer with the required nutrients, and there’s no risk of affecting their feeding patterns. However, only introduce these food sources gradually, over a 4-week period, to avoid the development of digestive problems in these animals.

How To Keep Deer Away from Your Garden and Apples

1. Build a Solid Fence

The most effective way to keep deer out of your garden is by building a fence surrounding it. The fence must be tall enough, at least eight to twelve feet, to deter deer from jumping over it. You can also make the fence slant outwards as deer don’t like to jump over things that are perceived as difficult that way.

2. Use Sprays and Other Deterrents

Using deer repellents can also be helpful for keeping deer away from your garden. Spray-on, granular, and stick-like repellents are just a few of the deer deterrents available. However, keep in mind that different products work differently, so it might take a bit of trial and error to find one that will suit your garden’s needs.

3. Use Sprinklers

If you’re searching for a humane way to keep deer out of your garden, then look no further than sprinklers. Motion sensing sprinklers are a great choice to confiscate the problem of deer in the garden. They release an unexpected burst of water when they detect movement, which usually startles the deer and quickly sends them running.

4. Use Ultrasounds

Deer are sensitive to sound and an ultrasound device can be quite annoying for them, so they will likely prefer to leave for a more quiet area. The good thing is that humans can barely hear ultrasound, so your garden will still feel very quiet to you.

Finally, you can use a device that spreads ultrasound only when there’s some motion detected in your garden.

5. Plant in a Less Accessible Location

One of the most efficient ways to protect apple trees from deer is to plant them in a less accessible location. Planting apple trees in spots that deer don’t favor or in less traveled areas of your backyard will make them less appealing to these animals.

6. Use Scare Tactics

When it comes to protecting an apple tree from deer, using scare tactics can be an effective method. One example is hanging reflective items such as CDs, aluminum foil, or pie plates around the garden. The sun’s reflection on these items can startle deer and deter them from coming close.

8. Netting the Trees

To safeguard your apples from the grazing deer, relying just on frightening them may not suffice. An effective alternative is using netting which involves suspending mesh material on wooden poles around your plants. It is crucial to place the poles some distance away from the plants lest the deer lean on the netting, ruining everything.

When using netting as a barrier for deer on apple trees, check regularly for any loose parts after wind or rainstorms. Netting can also protect against wind damage and seed-eating pests. However, it should be removed when the flowers bloom to allow for pollination by bees.


Which apples do deer prefer the most?

Deer display a particular fondness for specific types of apples that are sweet and rich in flavor. In particular, they find pears, apples, and persimmons to be quite appetizing, though some varieties of apples and pears are held in higher regard by these animals. Nonetheless, it’s important to acknowledge that apples are but a minor element of a deer’s diet and cannot fulfill their nutritional requirements entirely. If you do opt to offer them apples, it would be wise to slice them in half, thus facilitating the animals’ eating process.

What’s the maximum number of apples a deer consumes?

Deer have the ability to consume a large number of apples, equivalent to 30 tennis ball-sized servings, in one day. However, their primary source of nutrients is derived from forbs, browse, mast, and grass. While deer may have a preference for certain types of fruit, apples are not a significant part of their diet and should not be relied on as a primary food source. It is best to cut apples in half to make them easier for deer to consume.

What fruit do deer prefer?

A deer’s preferred fruits are pears, apples, and persimmons, although specific varieties of pears and apples are more highly valued. While these fruits are enjoyed as a treat, they do not make up a significant portion of a deer’s diet and do not provide all necessary nutrients for survival. It is recommended to cut the fruit in half to make it easier for deer to consume.

What is the favorite food of deer?

Deer display a strong affinity for select foods such as pears, apples, browse, forbs, mast and grass. Although they relish apples as a snack, it never accounts for a substantial portion of their diet and may not furnish all the crucial nutrients required for their optimal well-being. Nonetheless, splitting the apples in halves can facilitate feeding for the deer.

Do deer consume fallen apples?

Deer are known to have a fondness for certain fruits like apples, pears, and persimmons, but they are not a significant part of their diet. While deer may eat apples that have fallen to the ground as a treat, they primarily feed on browse, forbs, mast, and grass to obtain essential nutrients. It’s best to cut the apples in half to make it easier for them to eat.

Do deer consume entire apples?

Although deer may be attracted to fruits like pears and apples, their primary sources of nutrition come from browse, mast, and grass. Although they may consume whole apples, it isn’t a staple of their diet and may not provide all of the nutrients they require. If you offer them apples, slice them in half to improve their accessibility and help them enjoy them as a special snack.


So, do deer eat apples? The answer is yes. While it’s not a primary food source, deer are opportunistic feeders and will munch on apples if they’re in the area. However, it’s important to remember that deer are wild animals that have evolved to survive on their own. While feeding them human food like apples may seem like a kind gesture, it can actually harm them in the long run.

Feeding deer can lead to a variety of problems, including disrupting their natural feeding patterns and increasing their risk of disease. So if you want to see deer in your backyard, skip the apples and instead plant a garden with native plants and provide water sources. Not only will this help keep the deer healthy, but it will also create a more diverse ecosystem for all wildlife in the area.

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