Do Deer Eat Cabbage? (and How to Protect Your Garden)

I’ve always been curious about deer and their diet. So, when I heard that they might be chomping on cabbage, I had to investigate. Do deer eat cabbage? With a bit of research and personal experience, I reached a conclusion. Keep reading to find out and learn how to protect your own garden from these herbivorous critters.

Do Deer Eat Cabbage?

Deer are known to consume a wide variety of plants, including vegetables such as cabbage. In fact, cabbage is one of the preferred foods of deer, making it especially vulnerable to damage from these grazing animals. To protect cabbage crops, gardeners may need to employ various deterrent techniques, such as fences, repellents, or scare devices, to prevent deer from accessing the plants. Like with any food source, deer are likely to continue consuming cabbage as long as it is available, so taking preventative measures may be necessary.

In fact, cabbage is one of the preferred foods of deer, making it especially vulnerable to damage from these grazing animals. Due to this, gardeners may need to employ various deterrent techniques to prevent deer from accessing the plants. However, it is important to be mindful of the ecological impact, as these animals are an integral part of the ecosystem.

Overview of a Deer’s Diet and Habitat

Deer are known for their herbivore diet that depends on their location and the time of year. Their diet is quite diverse, ranging from leaves to fruits and from buds to grasses. The type of vegetation they eat varies with different regions, as Midwest deer tend to consume crops, while in non-agricultural areas such as the northeast, they consume a different mix. Despite the differences, woody browse is a staple in deer‘s diet during the colder months, wherever they live.

Nutrition Needs

Deer require a diet that is rich in protein, as well as other essential nutrients such as minerals and vitamins. During the warmer months, they typically consume a high proportion of protein-rich vegetation, while in the colder months, they will consume more energy-rich foods.

Vegetables They Eat

Deer have a taste for a variety of vegetable dishes encompassing members of the brassica family, like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Additionally, they relish on other veggies like carrots, peas, lettuce, and beans. Notwithstanding, certain crops such as garlic, onions, and tomatoes do not catch their fancy. That said, if there’s a shortage of grub and their primary food sources are not readily obtainable, deer won’t hesitate to munch on any garden delicacies available.

How To Protect Your Cabbage From Deer?

If you want to prevent deer from eating your cabbage, there are several strategies you can use. These include physical barriers, scare tactics, repellents, and crop selection.

1. Physical Barriers

Preventing deer from snacking on your precious garden requires some measures that physically block their access. Putting up barriers like fences or netting made of plastic or chicken wire offer an effective solution to keep deer distant from your plants.

For short vegetation such as lettuce or squash, you can use covers held down securely to withstand strong winds.

Pro tip: installing a fence is by far the most effective way to deter deer. However, make sure that your fence is at least 8ft tall and that deer can’t see exactly what’s on the other side of the fence. In fact, Deer will not take a chance to jump if they are not sure about where they are going to land!

2. Scare Tactics

Some scare strategies like motion-activated sprinklers or bright lights can intimidate and keep deer away.

Light reflectors, such as old CDs or small mirrors, can be hung near lettuce plants to give off a bright light, which can deter deer that are wary of new or strange objects. However, reflectors can be weather-dependent as they may not reflect enough light on cloudy days and may lose their effectiveness over time.

3. Ultrasonic Repellents

Ultrasonic repellents are a relatively new product on the market that emit high-frequency sounds that deer find irritating. While some users have reported success with these devices, others have found that they don’t work at all. Additionally, ultrasonic repellents can be expensive, require electricity, and may also affect other wildlife, including beneficial insects.

4. Repellents

Repellents are another option to keep deer away from your garden. Most repellents–homemade or manufactured– feature things like hot pepper, garlic, sulfur, and rotten eggs. Research has shown that these repellents can be effective in deterring deer from consuming your valuable crops. However, it is important to note that these repellents should be used sparingly to avoid any negative impact on the surrounding environment.

5. Crop Selection

To discourage deer from ravaging your garden, opt for plant species that are not as attractive to them. You can choose from a variety of deer-resistant herbs like thyme, rosemary, and lavender, or try flowering shrubs and perennials such as yarrow, daffodils, and peonies. Additionally, erecting a protective perimeter and surrounding your garden with these less appealing plants can create an added layer of defense against the animals’ favorite garden greens.

6. Human Presence

Deer are less likely to come near areas where they sense human presence. Consider spending more time in your garden, or use motion-detection lights or even some dogs or cats to deter deer. However, this method requires dedication and time, and it may not be practical for everyone.

Deer Feeding Habits in Winter

When winter arrives, deer must adjust their eating habits due to the lack of vegetation. These changes may include human intervention by way of supplement feeding. However, regulations vary by state, particularly as it pertains to hunting and maintaining a prolonged deer presence or drawing them to a specific area with lots of food. Knowledge of deer‘s feeding patterns and dietary requirements is essential to minimize damage to cabbage gardens.

Adaptive Palate

Deer have a very adaptive palate, meaning their diet changes throughout the year based on the available food sources. In the winter months, when woody browse is their primary food source, they will consume twigs, bark, and foliage from trees and shrubs. However, if presented with the opportunity, they will also feed on vegetables such as cabbage, kale, and turnips. Unfortunately for gardeners, deer find cabbage especially appealing, and it can be challenging to cultivate a healthy crop without taking preventative measures.

Supplemental Diet

The preferred foods of deer vary depending on their geographical location and local climate. For example, deer living in agricultural regions such as the Midwest will consume more crops such as corn and soybean than deer living in non-agricultural areas. However, woody browse remains the primary food source for deer throughout the winter, regardless of their location. Therefore, it is essential to consider the local habitat when developing management strategies to control deer populations.

Management Strategies for Controlling Deer Populations

Deer populations have been a significant concern for farmers and gardeners for many years. To control populations and prevent excessive damage to crops, various management strategies can be deployed. One strategy is to reduce the availability of food sources, such as planting unpalatable plants and removing food attractants from the area. Another strategy is to use physical barriers such as fences to prevent deer from accessing the garden.

Tips for Growing Cabbage to Keep Deer Away

Cabbage is a popular target for deer, and gardeners must take preventative measures to grow a healthy crop. Spacing and growing cabbage in containers are effective ways to reduce deer damage. Planting crops close together may make it more difficult for deer to access the plants. Additionally, growing in containers provides an elevated growing environment that is more accessible to the gardener than deer.

Spacing and Growing in Containers

Did you know that you can grow cabbage in containers? It’s true! All you need is a large pot or container with good drainage and a nutrient-rich soil mix. Just be sure to give your cabbage plants enough space to grow – they can get quite large, after all. And if you’re worried about deer munching on your cabbage, growing in containers can also help protect your plants. Simply place the containers out of reach of any wandering wildlife, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful cabbage harvest.

Watering and Pests/Disease Prevention

Proper watering and management of pests and diseases can help prevent deer damage to cabbage crops. Overwatering can attract deer to the garden, so it’s important to ensure plants receive the correct amount of water based on their needs. Integrated pest management, such as removing diseased plants and controlling pest populations, can also help reduce the attractiveness of cabbage to deer.

Harvest and Storage

Once cabbage is mature, it’s important to harvest it promptly and store it correctly to prevent deer damage. Deer may be attracted to the smell of cabbage, so it’s essential to store it in a secure location where deer cannot access it. Additionally, harvesting the cabbage when it is at peak maturity will ensure the best flavor and nutrition, and will also reduce the chances of it being damaged by deer.


Which animals eat cabbage?

Some creatures have a taste for fresh cabbage straight from the garden. These animals often include small rodents and other critters that are able to access and forage for food in gardens and fields. While some gardeners might see these munching pests as a nuisance, others may view them as part of the natural ecosystem and take measures to protect their crops while still allowing animals to enjoy a tasty snack.

What’s the simplest deer plot to cultivate?

If you’re looking for a low maintenance food plot option that is easy to grow, consider planting clover. Clover is a hardy plant that can withstand various weather conditions and is a great source of nutrition for deer. Additionally, clover will continue to grow year after year without needing to be replanted, making it a cost-effective option for creating a sustainable food plot.

What to feed wild deer in winter?

During winter, it’s important to provide deer with food that is both nutritious and easily digestible. Consider offering them a mix of protein-rich crops such as legumes, as well as grains and root vegetables like carrots or sweet potatoes. Additionally, it’s a good idea to set up feeding stations or scatter food in a wide area to ensure that all deer have access to enough sustenance.

Do winter deer eat cabbage?

Deer need a well-rounded diet all year long to stay healthy. Although certain crops like soybeans and kale offer excellent sources of protein, deer can also feed on cabbage. Nonetheless, it’s vital to keep in mind that during winter, deer tend to gravitate toward easily obtainable and appetizing foods. Therefore, it’s crucial to diversify the selection of food in your food plot to ensure their survival during this period.

Which food plot draws in the most deer?

To attract a high concentration of deer to a food plot, one should choose a variety of nutrient-rich plants that are available throughout the year. Planting crops like soybeans, kale, and clover can provide the necessary protein and energy for deer to thrive. Additionally, incorporating a variety of fruit and nut trees can also help to attract deer with their sweetness and scent. By planting a diverse array of plants, deer can find the necessary nutrients they need throughout the different seasons, making the food plot an attractive haven for them.


So, do deer eat cabbage? The answer is yes, they do! In fact, cabbage is one of their preferred foods, which can be a headache for gardeners trying to protect their crops. But don’t despair, there are ways to keep these pesky animals at bay.

From fences to repellents to scare devices, there are a variety of techniques you can use to deter deer from nibbling on your cabbage. Don’t let these hungry animals ruin your hard work in the garden. With a little effort, you can successfully guard your crops and enjoy a delicious harvest of fresh cabbage. So get to work and start protecting your garden today!

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