Deer love to eat pumpkins. They feed on the fruit, leaving the outer shell behind. They also eat the leaves.
Some deer also eat the rinds they leave behind after a month, assuming they do so because it is already soft to chew on, and they have no choice, particularly during wintertime.
Some people feed their leftover pumpkins to the deer but forget to smash them open so the deer can eat them easily. It will lessen their need to crush the pumpkins with their hooves which would be difficult because of the pumpkin’s hard shell.
Pumkins provide 49 calories of enervy per cup and are good source of fiber, carbs, and protein.
What do they eat?
Deer are attracted to pumpkin plants and their scent. They not only like the fruit but the leaves as well. Pumpkins are rich in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, which is beneficial to deer.
The guts are fiber-rich and will help in strengthening bones plus the pumpkin seeds are a source of fat. This is advantageous to deer cause they need their fat reserve to survive during winter.
It is not just pumpkin that deer prefer to eat but also grass, carrots, snap peas, tomatoes, almonds, beans, sweet potatoes, acorns, and evergreen plants. They also enjoy fruits such as grapes, small plums, apples, pears, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, watermelon, and persimmons.
Other foods that deer consume include wild crabapple, clover leaves, sedges, dogwood fruit, and sumac foliage.
Deer are hearty eaters, and when they forage for food, they usually will not linger too long on the same spot as they are also wary of their safety. You will find them in one spot feeding on a pumpkin, and they will be on the next area foraging on leaves or fruits.
Many people have tried feeding them with oats, legumes, and deer food mixes, which are safe for deer.
However, most people are asked not to feed the deer with any human food, hay, meat, or processed food. It will not be good for their digestive system and may have difficulty processing such types of food.
How to keep them away
If you are not fond of seeing deer foraging on your pumpkin plants, you can put a fence to keep them away. It will serve as a barrier, and make it difficult for them to get near the pumpkin plants. However, the fence needs to be quite tall cause deer can jump as high as eight feet.
Another option is by placing a net or a cage for a small crop of pumpkins. It will help drape and cover your plants to hide them from the animal.
There are some commercial repellents available but considered not as effective. Some brands need to be applied frequently as the effectiveness wears out too soon. There is also the question of safety for sprays and repellents that you will try to use.
A dog is another option cause they will guard the yard from any animal and not just deer that will feed on your pumpkins.
What animals eat pumpkins?
It is a good thing that you can feed your leftover pumpkin to not just deer but also cattle, ducks, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, pigs, dogs, cats, geese, and turkey.
Cattle – Since pumpkin is moisture-rich, high in crude protein, and easy to digest, they give it as feed to cattle.
Pigs – This animal is not picky and will forage on a hearty serving of pumpkin. They are not choosy either cause they will eat pumpkin whether it is raw or cooked.
Dogs – They are often fed with cooked pumpkin or pureed and mixed with their usual food.
Cats – Pumpkin is rich in zinc and will be beneficial to the cat’s coat or fur. Others also used it as a replacement for their cat’s regular food in case they need to lose weight.
Goats/Sheep – Can be fed with raw pumpkin, and serving them with bite-size pieces is highly ideal.
Horses – Feeding pumpkin to horses is safe as long as there is no added sugar or spices. It is given as raw as long as it is in small pieces.
Poultry – Because pumpkins are rich in vitamins and minerals, it is given to chicken/ducks/turkeys/geese occasionally. It can be fed to them raw and best cut into pieces.