Do Deer Eat Oranges?


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Deer are known for eating many different plants, weeds, nuts, and even fruits. They are mainly known for their love of berries! However, many gardeners use citrus fruits as deterrents for deer, as they believe that they will dislike the strong smell and acidic taste. But is that really the case? Do deer eat oranges?

Deer will happily eat oranges, even if they’re not particularly hungry. While it is true that they are not the biggest fans of citrus aromas, they are unlikely to refuse this type of fruit if it’s available to them.

Do deer eat citrus fruits? 

You may have heard of some gardeners leaving out lemon peels to deter deer – however, this usually never works. Indeed, deer do not like strong smells, and citrus fruits and trees do tend to boast heady aromas. However, if local deer happen to be hungry, in the mood for a treat, and there is no other food around, then they will eat all kinds of citrus fruits, including lemons, grapefruit, and of course, oranges.

If there are milder-smelling, sweeter-tasting fruits and berries that are easier to find and eat elsewhere, deer will show a direct preference for them. Therefore, don’t always count on citrus fruit to bring these animals running to your yard.

Do deer eat orange peels?

Yes – contrary to what you may have heard, deer will eat more than just the fruit of orange alone. They will happily eat the full package – peel, fruit, and everything in between.

Therefore, if you do want to deter deer from visiting you, there are better options than simply scattering orange peel around! Consider growing deer-resistant ferns, for example – or simply closing your yard off.

Do deer eat oranges or tangerines? 

As it happens, deer are not picky when it comes to citrus fruit – meaning tangerines are just as tantalizing. However, this isn’t a bad thing, as both oranges and tangerines can provide a lot of useful nutrition. As you may know, oranges contain high amounts of vitamin C, which is just as important to deer as it is to us. 

Both tangerines and oranges are also easier for deer to digest than much of what they’ll find to feast on in the wild. Although they love most fruit, certain types – such as apples – are more difficult for them to digest.

Deer digestive systems are notoriously sensitive despite their propensity to eat pretty much anything if they are hungry enough. It’s a key reason why you shouldn’t leave hay out for deer – they won’t be able to digest it properly. The same applies to various non-citrus fruits.

Deer will commonly snack on oranges if they fall from trees in their local habitat. It’s a good reason why trees deer love includes fruit-bearing varieties. Some trees are great for attracting deer, too, as they both provide food and shelter in equal measure.

Should I feed deer oranges?

There is certainly no harm in washing organic oranges to feed to deer in your yard, however, you must make sure that it’s legal for you to feed these animals in your state. Did you know that it’s against the law to feed deer at all in some states? This is largely due to concerns for overpopulation, as well as for human safety.

There are certainly worse things you can feed deer on (if you’re able to) – however, if you have a feeding plot for your local deer, make sure to offer it a wider variety of different treats. A diet of oranges alone is unlikely to sustain them long-term. Try to mix things up with various nuts, twigs, and growing plants that deer prefer to eat.

Fruit such as oranges are great alternatives to deer bait, and as they are completely organic, you won’t need to worry about any nasty chemicals or additives harming their digestive systems.

What fruits do deer eat? 

Deer are known for enjoying apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, pears, and even watermelon! All are great for them as they are good, natural sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 

However, deer are mostly known for commonly eating nuts, weeds, and even twigs when food is scarce. So, when they have access to something sweet, juicy, and rare such as a piece of fruit, they will happily take the opportunity to tuck it in.

What animals will eat oranges? 

You may commonly find woodpeckers, mockingbirds, and catbirds pecking at your citrus fruits. However, certain land animals also enjoy the sweet taste of these orange delights. Squirrels, rats, and raccoons are commonly found eating oranges, or at least when they are in season. Understandably, you may wish to keep some of these scavengers away from your property!

Therefore, be careful where you leave any oranges for deer to eat. Placing them too close to your home may result in further unwanted attention from vermin, meaning the best course of action is to leave fruit at the far edge of your garden. This will also help to bring deer closer to your yard, too, as they are less likely to be scared away.

About The Author
Robert has been an avid birdwatcher pretty much his entire life. Living in the suburbs he does his best to bring wild birds into his backyard. He currently has 13+ bird feeders in his yard and also raises and races homing pigeons. Robert writes part-time for Wild Yards, mostly about the subject he cares most about - birds.

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