Feeding of farmed White-Tailed Deer

The following factors are important to consider when planning a sound feeding program for white-tailed deer.

  • Good nutrition is required to maximize conception rates and improve fawning percentages. White-tailed deer that do not go into winter in good condition will not survive the winter.
  • White-tailed deer are browsers or selective grazers who prefer high quality forages particularly new plant growth.
  • Breeding stock requires 2.5% of their body weight on a dry matter basis per day in order to maintain their weight.
  • The quality and quantity of available pasture will determine the level of supplemental feeding while on pasture. Supplemental winter feeding is required. Rotational grazing is used to fully utilize available pasture and to reduce parasite levels.
  • Several feed companies are now producing feed specifically designed to differing deer requirements.
  • Hay, grain, vitamins and minerals must provided during the winter to ensure nutritional requirements are met. Supplemental feeding is also necessary during hot weather when pastures are growing slowly and during late summer in preparation for the rut.
  • Clean, fresh water must be available year round.

White-tailed deer are generally resistant to disease. However farming large numbers of animals on a limited acreage requires ongoing parasite control.