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winter feed for deer

Old 09-28-2005, 06:41 PM
  #1  
Fork Horn
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Default winter feed for deer

sorry, originally posted this to the wrong forum. Anyway...

We have about two acres of food plots on our land (mostly clover). At this time in the year, it is more than adequate for the number of deer on our property, plus those that wander on and off. However, when winter comes up here in central PA and the deer are left with nothing but a foot of snow on the ground, there has to be substantial die-offs from starvation, etc.

So here's my idea...I was thinking of mowing off about an acre of clover and letting it dry while it is still warm enough. Then bail it up and store it in a barn until January/February when I would put it out for food.

Has anyone ever done this? I wonder how the deer will react to this, and how much I should put out at one time so that it doesn't get covered up by more snow. Any feeback/advice/thoughts would be greatly appreciated
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Old 09-29-2005, 12:30 PM
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Fork Horn
 
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Default RE: winter feed for deer

It's my understanding that deer aren't real big hay eaters. Of course if they are starving then they'll eat almost anything.
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Old 09-29-2005, 01:07 PM
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Default RE: winter feed for deer

Here in northern Minnesota, many of us supplement a deer's diet during the hard winters. generally they will nibble on alfalfa hay until into Dec, then don't touch it much after that. My wildlife biologist friend explaines that deer stop producing the enzyme needed to break down green matter during the hard winter months, then kick it back into gear as winter fades and spring comes. A few years back we had a KILLER winter here in northern Mn. All the deer clubs whinned and got the state to anti up some $$$ to feed deer. Many hay bales were scattered throughout the region, with little or no effect. Autopysies showed dead deer with bellies full of nice green hay, but body couldn't break it down properly. Taz
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Old 09-29-2005, 04:00 PM
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Nontypical Buck
 
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Default RE: winter feed for deer

Try this link. It may be helpful.

http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/pubs/pubmenu.html#wild

Dan O.
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Old 09-29-2005, 05:25 PM
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Default RE: winter feed for deer

ORIGINAL: answerguy

It's my understanding that deer aren't real big hay eaters. Of course if they are starving then they'll eat almost anything.
hes talking about mowing off the clover and bailing it.......not hay
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Old 09-29-2005, 05:39 PM
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Default RE: winter feed for deer

A lot of hay from around here is comprised of clover, but I have never seen the deer eat it. If you have the resources and can find some extra ground to plant try brassicas. They will last into the winter, or until the deer eat them all. I wonder why the deer would not have those enzymes for digestion during the winter, but elk do. They feed elk hay in winter. Just wondering.
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Old 09-29-2005, 06:33 PM
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Default RE: winter feed for deer

The following is part of a Wisconsin DNR article that is no longer on the DNR web page since CWD baiting regulation went into effect.

winter deer feeding .....

What to feed...
If you accept the responsibilities of feeding deer, the following foods should be considered.

Deer Food Mixes: The Department of Natural Resources recommends feeding a special deer food mix consisting of a mixture of corn, alfalfa, oats, soybeans, molasses, and several vitamins and minerals. Many feed mills in Wisconsin sell this mixture in pellet or meal form. If such a mix is not available, rabbit or horse pellets with at least 12% protein can be used. By late February, deer that have been eating on woody browse for most of the winter can switch and readily digest this food better than corn or hay.

Oats: After the special deer food mixture, oats are preferred over all other supplemental foods. They provide deer with a very favorable ratio of fiber and carbohydrates.

Corn: We do not recommend feeding deer a pure corn diet as the high starch content of corn can cause high acidity in the rumen which kills microorganisms necessary for digesting food. Corn is widely used deer food in Wisconsin. It is less expensive than the deer mixtures, but not as nutritious. If corn is fed, it should be mixed with oats at a ratio of 4 parts oats to 1 part corn. Do not use corn unless you start feeding it early in the winter before deer are stressed.

Hay: In northern forested areas of Wisconsin, hay is the least desirable food for winter feeding purposes, and is not recommended. When deer have had reduced intake because of low food supplies, rumen activity declines and fermentation of fiber decreases. The fiber type in alfalfa cannot be readily broken down, and it can impact deer in such a way that it dooms them to continued starvation.

As a side note ... deer will often pick through the oats to get to the corn kernals. But once the deer become accustome to oats will take it readily. The draw back is that oat kernals do not hold up to damp weather like corn kernals and will go bad more quickly.
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Old 09-29-2005, 09:13 PM
  #8  
Fork Horn
 
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Default RE: winter feed for deer

ORIGINAL: bspencer

ORIGINAL: answerguy

It's my understanding that deer aren't real big hay eaters. Of course if they are starving then they'll eat almost anything.
hes talking about mowing off the clover and bailing it.......not hay
Isn't that still hay?
http://www.cyberspaceag.com/kansasagriculture/glossary.htm
Hay: Product such as alfalfa and certain grasses which are cut, baled and fed to animals.
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Old 09-29-2005, 09:45 PM
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Fork Horn
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Default RE: winter feed for deer

I put out a molasses block last winter and they hammered that thing. There was actually a hole in the ground this spring where it used to be.
It sounds like a mixture of oats, corn, and molasses is the best way to go.
I've also heard from a friend at work that the reasonthe deer's body stops producing the enzyme that breaks down clover in the winter is because they go without it for a few months? If this is in fact the case, I'd think that if they kept eating clover, they would continue to produce this enzyme.
Either way, I'm glad I can order from a Domino's down the street.
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Old 09-30-2005, 05:25 AM
  #10  
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Default RE: winter feed for deer

Make sure baiting is legal where you are, I would think that is considered baiting.
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