Last updated on October 10th, 2022
My neighbor had recently planted some blueberry bushes, and she was waiting for the plants to produce a good harvest.
But before she could harvest the blueberries, she found that a herd of deer had destroyed her plants. However, it made me wonder why deer would eat blueberries.
I mean, yes, they are juicy and delicious but deer usually eat foliage, grass, twigs, and maybe some tree bark. But can deer eat blueberries?
Deer can eat blueberries because this fruit is sweet, and juicy, has loads of nutritional benefits and has no thorns on the bush which makes it easy for them to access. This fruit is as tasty and nutritious to deer as it is to us.
Are blueberries toxic to deer?
Blueberries are safe for deer to eat since it’s rich in antioxidants, which prevent cell damage, however, if the fruit contains traces of pesticides, it can cause stomach issues for the animal.
Although blueberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C for deer bred in captivity, there have been rare cases of deer going into toxic shock on eating blueberries.
According to the zoologist friend, one of the reasons for the toxic shock is that the blueberries were not organic.
Therefore, if there are traces of pesticides or insecticides in the blueberries given to the deer, it can give the creature a toxic shock.
Hence, you should avoid giving it frozen blueberries. Instead, it would help if you always gave deer fresh, organic blueberries.
Why do deer eat blueberries?
Deer are not picky eaters and the creature does not differentiate between the foliage and the fruit. They will eat almost anything that they come across. Moreover, berries are often the preferred food for the deer when other food is scarce.
They are herbivores and normally eat grasses, sedges, tree leaves, shoots, and other woody plants.
Deer are foragers who will graze across vast stretches of land, looking for suitable grazing grounds.
But if they come across shrubs with berries, like blueberries, fruits, and strawberries, they will eat these as well.
Can baby deer eat blueberries?
Blueberries are safe for a baby deer to eat. You can introduce blueberries into the diet when a baby deer starts eating grass, foliage, twigs, fruits, and vegetables, but even though it’s an excellent energy source, they should be fed to them in moderation.
Blueberries have a high sugar content and are rich in fiber. Therefore, it should be introduced slowly into its diet.
You can offer blueberries to a baby deer as a delicious snack so that it gets used to the taste of the fruit.
In addition, you need to remember that the movement of the deer is limited.
Hence, it would help if you were to monitor the nutritional intake of the baby deer.
Are blueberries healthy for deer?
Blueberries are healthy for deer because it contains several vitamins and minerals that will benefit these animals. However, blueberries have high fruit sugar so consumption levels should be monitored.
When deer are bred in captivity, you need to ensure that the creature gets all types of nutrients to build strong bones and a robust immune system.
One of the easiest ways is to ensure that the deer gets an excellent supply of Vitamin C.
Blueberries are full of Vitamin C, which is why you will often see that zookeepers give deer this fruit along with other fruits like oranges, vegetables, and foliage.
Moreover, blueberries are a delicious snack that deer love to eat, and these fruits can be a good change from their regular food.
But, it’s very important that you consult with a local veterinarian before making any changes to an animal’s diet.
Are there any particular berries that deer like the most?
According to berry farmers, deer love to eat raspberries and blackberries.
These berries are commonly found in the wild, and deer can quickly locate these plants.
Hunters can identify the trail of the deer by the tell-tale signs of chewing on the leaves of the raspberry or blackberry shrubs.
Should you limit the number of blueberries given to deer?
Deer love to eat blueberries, and there is not exactly an amount you can measure while giving the particular fruit to deer.
But it is best not to go overboard with it!
The primary reason is that blueberries are rich in fiber, and when deer are bred in captivity, you need to be mindful of the fiber intake of the creature.
If you give excessive fiber to deer, especially ones that are bred in captivity, it can cause the creature digestive distress.
Are deer considered to be invasive mammal pests by blueberry farmers?
Farmers consider deer an invasive species that can prove to be dangerous for commercial blueberry farming. However, the scarcity of food and rampant deforestation has resulted in deer entering blueberry farms.
Farmers often mention that deer herds have destroyed not just the harvest but also the shrubs.
This is because the creature will not just eat the fruits but the leaves and shoots of the blueberry plant.
Can deer enter your garden if you plant blueberry plants?
Deer can enter your garden if you live close to the woods because they have an excellent sense of smell, and will pick up the faint scent of the shrubs even before the fruits appear.
If you are an amateur gardener planning to plant blueberry shrubs, you must take precautionary measures to prevent deer from entering your garden.
Hence, if you want to protect the shrubs and the other plants in your garden, you should put up a fence and use other deer repellents to prevent the creatures from entering.
Do deer eat blueberry bushes?
Deer will eat any part of the blueberry bush that they can reach and if the plant has little fruit, the deer will resort to eating its leaves. However, it’s more common for deer to eat the berry’s leaves while reaching for the berries themselves.
How can you protect your blueberry bushes from deer attacks?
Deer are nocturnal creatures; hence one of the ways to protect your blueberry bushes from a deer attack is to put bright lights around the shrubs.
However, deer are shy creatures and will avoid any places with bright lights.
You can also put up fences and netting around your blueberry bushes. This, too, will protect your blueberry harvest.
What else do blueberries provide deer?
Blueberries are full of minerals, calcium, and antioxidants. Deer bred in captivity or in the zoo need to be given all types of nutrients they would naturally get in the wild.
Moreover, ensuring they do not feel stressed in an enclosed environment.
Sweet blueberries can be a delicious snack for deer living in captivity.
Hence, other than providing Vitamin C, which is essential to building strong bones and a robust immune system, blueberries are full of other nutrients that the deer needs to stay healthy.
Interested in learning more about what animals eat blueberries? Check out that article for more information.
Deer Busters Canada – Protect Blueberry Bushes From Wildlife