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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    North East CT
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    2003 Kubota BX-22

    Default Feeding the deer during heavy snowfall...

    I have a bag of Alfalfa pellets in the garage that I was thinking of putting out for the deer that travel across my land. I can see where they have been digging in the snow trying to recover the acorns that fell this past fall next to my driveway. I don't mind helping them survive the winter, besides, it might just save some of my plantings if they have some food. Last year, they ate all my Holly bushes, but so far, this year they haven't been near them yet!! They have been crossing in the same place for the past 20 years, so I know that I will not be encouraging them. They already know my property better than I do. Does anyone know if they will eat the alfalfa? I also intend to get some cracked corn this week to supplement it. Are there other foods that will help them sustain life.... thanks Junk..


  2. #2
    Super Star Member
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    Aug 2001
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    Upper Midwest USA
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    JD 4300, JD X485 JD 4x2 Gator, JD 425, JD455

    Default Re: Feeding the deer during heavy snowfall...

    From what I understand, the deer need the bacteria in their stomachs to digest whatever they eat, and I don't think alfalfa is one that they can. Just based on past information that starving deer cannot be fed alfalfa hay, as they can't eat it (they do eat it but die trying to digest it). For starving deer often the thing to do is cut trees such as aspen so they can get at the aspen buds at the tips of the branches. They have the bacteria to digest the buds.
    Feeding corn might work, but not legal in all states. I know Wisconsin has a feeding ban, as they think it helps spread disease such as CWD (chronic wasting disease).
    Let us know if they eat them. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

  3. #3
    Veteran Member DUMBDOG's Avatar
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    Jul 2002
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    1,068
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    Central ND, Central FL
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    NH 1630 W-7308 FEL/ Kubota L4630GSTC W-LA853 FEL WQ/A-CC 2544

    Default Re: Feeding the deer during heavy snowfall...

    I have fed the deer corn in the winter and during the summer they are in the alfalfa field next to my land every night. They might be eating the grass that is mixed up with the alfalfa but it is mainly alfalfa with very little grass.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
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    Oct 2004
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    721
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    Boerne, Texas
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    Kubota M9000

    Default Re: Feeding the deer during heavy snowfall...

    junkman,
    I own and live on a game ranch and although I'm in Texas I'm sure this is fine for you as well. Get some goat feed its cheap you can get it at TSC or any feed store for less than $5. a 50lb bag and it'll go a long way for your deer you can feed about a 1/4 lb or so per deer and help get them over the hump it won't by any means be their total dietary requirement volume wise but they can survive on it for a month or so as they will also be eating the bark off your trees and mommas flowers and shrubs but they've probably already done that if their as hungry as it sounds. You can just throw it out on the ground and that way everybody gets some if you try to put it in a feed bowl you'll end up with the healthiest getting the most and the weakest getting none or the least. Preferably somewhere where you have plowed although I have no experience with snow maybe it would stay on top of it well enough you'll have to make that call.
    Steve

  5. #5
    Gold Member sherpa's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
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    North Carolina Mountains
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    NH TC33D & Ford 8N

    Default Re: Feeding the deer during heavy snowfall...

    I feed em whole corn. As I was buying corn one day at the feed store the young helper ask, "do the deer really eat this stuff" I said "they love it, as soon as I drive up and open my tailgate on my truck 2 or 3 deer are standing there helping me unload it". That kid just starred at me for a second or two and thin grinned.

    Sherpa

  6. #6
    Silver Member
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    Oct 2004
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    155
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    Poultney, Vermont
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    Kioti CK30

    Default Re: Feeding the deer during heavy snowfall...

    The bacteria that deer have in their stomachs this time of the year is different than what is there during the spring and summer when alafalfa is usually available. It is more suited to breaking down twigs and bark then grasses. If you plan on feeding them through spring it may not be a problem since after a while the bacteria that is needed to digest the new foods will start growing and they will be able to use the nutrients.

  7. #7
    Elite Member thcri's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
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    Minnesota SE
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    New Holland TC29D, 2001

    Default Re: Feeding the deer during heavy snowfall...

    Just about every night I throw out an ice cream pale full of and corn and and ice cream pale of sunflower seeds. I also get an small pale of cracked corn for the pheasants. Last night I had ten deer in my back yard just having a blast. They were running around after each other running from our yard to the neighbors yard. I sat in that window and just laughed. Great time. They are not at the point were they come around while I am still holding the bucket of corn though. That would be neat if they did.

    murph

  8. #8
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Feeding the deer during heavy snowfall...

    Just a diffrent way of looking at nature, but if you feed the deer are you possibly leading to the possible starvation of those animals that might feed on the deer?

    Will a coyote, lynx, cougar, wolverine or bobcat possibly starve because of your action? What about the animials who clean up the carcass left behind after the predators have finished?

    Nature is a balance of all sorts of animals, by artificially propping up one species over all others are we are thowing off the natural balance and disrupting natural selection?

    Here in Indiana we've killed off our wolves, killed off and driven the bears into Michigan and now are faced with deer population explosions, the herds are literally 10x the size of their historic records. Our state parks have had to fence off areas to protect plants and other species of animals. For the last few years they have opened state parks to hunting and found the need to also bring in sharpshooters to cull the herds.

    Personally I love to watch the deer out my windows, I enjoy the close encounters I have with them when I see them on my walks, but I seriously question how much real harm is caused by good intentioned folks who feed them.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
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    Lecompton, Kansas
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    AgKing 2840 shuttle shift

    Default Re: Feeding the deer during heavy snowfall...

    Bob, the deer in my area (NE Kansas) seem to be shrinking in population, I think it is because of the added hunting seasons and the special doe only seasons that the Kansas Wildlife and Parks have added. I still see deer several times a week but it wasn't uncommon to see 20-30 per day several years ago. We moved into our house 4 years ago and the 6-1/2 lb. poodle we have would chase the deer out of the yard. They got to where they didn't run off when she'd chase and bark at them and would even stay around while I was working outside. I'd much rather have hunters eat the deer rather than cars hitting them. I hit two at once 7 years ago, we got the car fixed and the wife hit one about a week later in the same car. Too many just isn't a good thing.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member
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    Feb 2001
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    South-central Michigan
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    New Holland TC40D

    Default Re: Feeding the deer during heavy snowfall...

    The deer may be helping you unload it, just as a bunch of kids (me included) [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] would do if it were a load of ice cream. Unfortuneately, corn is a poor source of nutrients for deer. A much better solution is horse feed, stock feed, or something much more well balanced. If you're still keen on corn (as you say, it certainly attracts them) mix corn with the feed, something like 50/50. That's what we do.

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