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Feeding to Death?

Old 01-12-2007, 06:34 AM
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Default Feeding to Death?

At our local coffee shop I heard a guy tell how when the ground gets covered with snow he puts out a few bails of hay for them and said they eat it right up. Then another guys chimes in and said that deer can not digest dry hay and that it takes more energy to try and digest then they get out of it so if you feed it to deer you can do more harm then good. He said they do not have the enzymes to digest dry hay, but when it is green the enzymes are in it. Anyone else ever here this?
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Old 01-12-2007, 07:29 AM
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Default RE: Feeding to Death?

Not entirely correct . Ungulates digest via fermentation , so they can extract nutrients from very low energy food sources such as grass efficiently , and hay is mostly grass . Ever watch a deer browse a round bale ? Suddenly dumping an entirely different browse into the mix like he does can harm or even kill them , but not for the reason the other guy stated . A deer's digestive system takes time to adjust from one browse type to another , once most of the wild mast and ag crops are gone they're pretty much living on bark , evergreen needles , and other low energy browse , along with their fat reserves . Their system is aclimated to the currently available browse , switching suddenly doesn't allow their system time to accomodate the new matter so they can't extract the nutrients efficiently enough to sustain themselves . Deer have been found starved to death with full bellies , which is why feeding them is illegal in some states .
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Old 01-12-2007, 09:16 PM
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Default RE: Feeding to Death?

Yes they will die because of eating dry hay. I've heard it plenty of times so thats why i dont use dry hay anymore.
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Old 01-13-2007, 07:15 AM
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Default RE: Feeding to Death?

ORIGINAL: kevin1

Not entirely correct . Ungulates digest via fermentation , so they can extract nutrients from very low energy food sources such as grass efficiently , and hay is mostly grass . Ever watch a deer browse a round bale ? Suddenly dumping an entirely different browse into the mix like he does can harm or even kill them , but not for the reason the other guy stated . A deer's digestive system takes time to adjust from one browse type to another , once most of the wild mast and ag crops are gone they're pretty much living on bark , evergreen needles , and other low energy browse , along with their fat reserves . Their system is aclimated to the currently available browse , switching suddenly doesn't allow their system time to accomodate the new matter so they can't extract the nutrients efficiently enough to sustain themselves . Deer have been found starved to death with full bellies , which is why feeding them is illegal in some states .
Just a small addition to your excellent post. Haycan be grass, like Timothy, or it could be alfalfa which is a legume. Pretty much anything that a farmer bales up to feed his cattle is called hay.
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Old 01-14-2007, 09:40 PM
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Default RE: Feeding to Death?

For clarification - Digestion of plants and woody matter is accomplished in deer and other ungulates through a symbiotic relationship with the bacteria in their digestive system. Different foods require different bacteria to break it down into particles that the deer can use.

It takes time for the bacteria to change in the deer's system - so new foods should be introduced slowly - or when other foods are abundant. Deer that are stressed (either winter or late summer) are most susceptable to dying due to not being able to digest a new food. It doesn't matter what the"new food" is or how "nutritious" it is - IF the deerdo not have the right bacteria in their digestive track to aid in it's digestion.

There is alot of information on the internet on this topic, if you want to learn more about it - try a google search on "Deer Digestion".

FH
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Old 01-15-2007, 06:06 AM
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Default RE: Feeding to Death?

Corn is NOT for Deer
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Old 01-15-2007, 07:10 AM
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Default RE: Feeding to Death?

ORIGINAL: Rebel Hog

Corn is NOT for Deer
Come on Elmilio! Your losing focus! This one is about Hay!
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Old 01-15-2007, 07:20 AM
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Default RE: Feeding to Death?

ORIGINAL: Hotburn76

ORIGINAL: Rebel Hog

Corn is NOT for Deer
Come on Elmilio! Your losing focus! This one is about Hay!
OOOPS! My bad!


Deer are Browers and not Grazers like Cattle and Sheep!

I have Rolls of Hay on pasture for the Steers and I never see Deer feeding on them, but instead they prefer eating acorns and browzing all the trees around them!
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Old 01-15-2007, 04:33 PM
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Go to Mexico and try to acclimatise yourself to their bacteria. It takes time.

Dan O.
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:33 PM
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Default RE: Feeding to Death?

I dont get it. deer are rument animals right? Just like cows or goats they eat hay at just a few monthes old couldent the deer if they ate the hay from young on couldent they get use to it. They chew there cud just like cows and have a foure chamberd stomac so that would make them ruments right? This is just what I was thinking.
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