Do Deer Eat Meat? Is A Taste Of Protein On The Menu?

Deer are typically thought of as peaceful, vegetarian creatures, but did you know they are omnivores? That’s right – deer eat both plants and animals! In this blog post, we’ll explore what deer eat and why they choose to consume both plant-based and meat-based foods.

Why Do Deer Eat Meat?

In the wild, a deer’s diet consists mostly of plants like grasses, leaves, and twigs. However, deer have been known to eat meat on occasion – usually when other food sources are limited or if they’re sick.

There are a few reasons why deer might choose to eat meat:

  • If plant food is scarce due to drought or winter conditions, deer may turn to eat small animals as an alternative source of nutrients.
  • Deer may also consume carrion (dead animals) if they come across it while foraging for other food items. This can help them fulfill their protein and mineral needs.
  • In some cases, sick deer may resort to eating flesh to get the calories and nutrition they need to survive.

Nutritional Benefits Of Meat For Deer

Meat provides many nutrients that are essential for the good health of deer. These include protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.

Protein is an important nutrient for growth and development in deer. It helps deer to build and repair muscles, organs, skin, hair, and nails. Iron is needed to make hemoglobin in red blood cells which carry oxygen around a deer’s body. Zinc supports a healthy immune system in deer. Vitamin B12 helps deer to form new red blood cells.

How To Feed Meat To Deer?

One of the best ways to feed deer is by providing them with a well-rounded diet that includes both vegetation and meat. While some people may choose to simply offer up pieces of raw meat, this isn’t necessarily the most effective way to go about it. Instead, there are a few key things you should keep in mind when feeding deer meat:

  • Cut the meat into small chunks or strips – This will help ensure that the deer can easily eat and digest the food. It also helps to prevent waste, as larger pieces of meat are more likely to be left behind.
  • Add some sort of attractant – Whether it’s a fruit or another type of sweet treat, adding an attractant will help entice the deer to come over and try out your new food source. Once they get a taste of it, they’ll be sure to come back for more!

When To Feed Meat To Deer?

There is a lot of debate surrounding when to feed meat to deer. Some people believe that it is best to wait until the rut, while others argue that earlier in the season provides more benefits. Ultimately, there are pros and cons to both approaches and it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Here we will outline some of the key points for each approach:

Waiting until the Rut:

  • Allows bucks to maintain their body condition and grow antlers without having to compete with does for food sources.
  • Bucks will be less likely to overgraze an area if they are not being lured in by supplemental feeding.


  • By waiting until later in the season to feed meat, you can ensure that your deer have access to more natural food sources, such as acorns, nuts and other vegetation. Additionally, feeding later in the season allows deer to fatten up before winter sets in, helping them to survive the cold temperatures.

Are Meat Dangerous For Deer To Eat?

Yes, meat can be dangerous for deer to eat. Here are some reasons why:

  • Deer may not be able to digest some meat properly. This can lead to indigestion, diarrhea, and other health problems.
  • Meat is high in fat and calories, which can cause obesity and other issues in deer.
  • Meat may also contain harmful bacteria that can make deer sick.

How To Prevent Deer From Eating Meat?

Deer typically eat plant-based material, but in some cases may be tempted to sample meat. If you are concerned about deer eating meat, there are a few things you can do to deter them:

  • Use fencing: A fence can help keep deer out of an area where they might otherwise access the meat. Be sure the fence is high enough and installed properly to ensure that deer cannot jump or crawl over it.
  • Remove attractants: Keep garbage cans, pet food, and other potential sources of food securely covered and away from areas where deer congregate. Deer are attracted to strong smells, so take care not to eliminate all odors that could entice them.

Can Baby Deer Eat Meat?

Baby deer will occasionally eat meat if it’s available. This is because they are still learning what to eat and haven’t developed a preference for plants yet. Meat can provide them with essential nutrients that they might not get from plant food alone. If you see a baby deer eating meat, don’t worry – it’s completely normal!

Do Deer Eat Meat Summary

In conclusion, deer do eat meat, but this is usually only in the form of carrion. Deer are typically preferring grasses and other vegetation as their main source of food. However, they will occasionally supplement their diet with dead animals or invertebrates if they come across them. As such, deer are omnivorous and can adapt to the environment around them.