Do Deer Eat Oranges? Can Deer Have Oranges?

Last updated on October 8th, 2022

You’ve heard about the benefits of drinking orange juice, but did you know that deer also love these fruits? Deer often feed on citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, grapefruit, tangerines, and even oranges.

Deer prefer fresh fruit over dried or canned varieties because they contain higher levels of water and sugar. They also tend to prefer soft fruits, such as apples, pears, and peaches, over harder ones, such as pineapples and melons.

Although grass and broad-leaf foliage are their main sources of food, deer do eat oranges as they become drawn toward fruits and vegetables during fall and winter when other sources of food become scarce. However, no evidence exists that deer shake trees to force the fruit to fall.

Deer are healthier eating oranges than apples because they’re easier for them to digest. Oranges contain a lot of water and vitamin C, while apples tend to be drier.

Deer will eat oranges, apples, and other similar fruits when these fall on the ground. When the ripe fruits fall off the branches, these become suitable for the deer to eat. That is if they get to it before squirrels do.

The sweet fruit is quite attractive to the deer and this creature has a strong sense of smell, and when the fruit ripens, the creature can quickly identify it.

deer eating orange 16012022

Can deer be given oranges?

When it comes to giving oranges to deer, you need not worry too much. Oranges are a healthy snack for deer, full of Vitamin C.

When deer are bred in captivity, they are given oranges as a part of their regular diet.

This is because deer that are bred in captivity need a good supply of vitamins to build a robust immune system and healthy bones.

Oranges have a mild flavor and sweetness, which makes them an ideal treat for deer. The sweet fruit is very easy to chew and swallow. 

Hence, zookeepers often include oranges as a regular part of the diet of deer in zoos.

Can you give baby deer oranges?

When you visit the zoo during feeding time, you will find that along with the parent, the baby deer born and bred in captivity are also given a variety of fruits and vegetables, and oranges often feature in the list of fruits given to the baby deer.

But oranges need to be introduced into the diet of a baby deer gradually so that it doesn’t lead to any digestive issues in the baby deer’s stomach.

Hence, the keeper of the deer pen will always give the baby deer a small amount of orange as a part of its diet.

Sometimes he can also give the baby deer diluted orange juice so that it develops a taste for the citrus fruit.

Do deer eat orange peels?

Deer do eat orange peels since they’re known to consume the whole fruit in the wild. However, when deer are bred in captivity, the oranges are sometimes peeled, and the fruit is given to the creature.

One of the reasons for doing it is that orange peels can be quite bitter and can be repellent for the deer bred in captivity.

On the other hand, orange pulp is very rich in potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. All of those minerals are important for a deer’s health.

Can deer shake oranges off the branches of trees?

Deer are considered raiders by farmers who grow oranges commercially, however, there is no record of deer trying to shake the trees to force the fruits to fall off the branches.

But they can eat the young shoots of orange trees and break the lower branches. Such an attack by a herd of deer can be pretty dangerous for an orange harvest.

Is it true that deer look for oranges when their primary source of food is scarce?

The primary source of food for a deer is grass or broad-leafed foliage.

During summer or the rainy season, there is plenty of grass in the forest or the other natural habitats of deer.

Hence, it will not seek any other alternative source of food.

But during fall and winter, deer are drawn towards fruits and vegetables when other sources of food begin to dry up or become scarce.

For example, oranges are primarily harvested in fall and winter in the tropical regions of the world.

Hence, there is a plentiful amount of this fruit, making it easier for the deer to find ripe and sweet oranges.

The citrus smell of oranges and lemons can deter deer from entering your garden – is it true?

This is ultimately a myth! You might have heard amateur gardeners telling you that one of the easiest ways of keeping deer out of your garden is to keep orange or lemon peels in your garden.

However, it can be counterproductive and attract more deer to your garden.

Deer love the citrus smell of lemons and oranges, and they will come into your garden out of curiosity.

Even if they do not eat the orange or lemon peels, they will eat the other plants and shrubs in your garden.

Are deer considered pests by fruit farmers?

Yes, deer are often considered pests by farmers who grow oranges commercially!

Although orange trees are pretty tall, if you have fruit on low-hanging branches and are within reach of a deer, then the creature will eat these fruits.

Moreover, the deer will consume any orange that falls to the ground.

What do deer love to eat the most?

You will find that deer can devour grass, twigs, leaves, fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetables found on the ground.

However, if you want to know the food which is an absolute favorite of deer, then it has to be the woody portion of leaves and stems and forbs, which are broad-leaved plants.

Are there any fruits that deer are particularly fond of?

It is true that deer love to eat citrus fruits, but these are not the absolute favorite of the creature.

You will often find that deer will also eat berries and plums in the wild.

The primary reason is that these fruits grow closer to the ground, making it easier for the deer to reach the fruit.

In the case of oranges, the deer can access the fruit only when it falls to the ground.

Still curious to learn more about the animals that like oranges? Check out this article to learn more.

Further reading:
Gardening Know How – Deer Eating Fruit Trees

Scroll to Top