Deer eat a variety of foods. They eat seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, berries and flowers. They also eat woody browse, such as leaves, twigs, saplings and bulbs.
Bird Seed Is Not Their First or Second Food Choice
Deers will eat bird seed when it is available, but only if they are hungry enough. They aren't the only creatures who eat bird seed, however.
The best way to prevent deer from eating birdseed is to use feeders that are difficult for them to get to. These include tube or hopper feeders and suet cages.
Elevate Feeders: The taller the feeder, the less likely deer will be to reach it. Place it 7-8 feet above the ground.
Avoid Non-Appetizing Types Of Bird Seed: Some types of birdseed don't interest deer, such as safflower or Nyjer (Thistle) seeds. They have a bitter taste, which doesn't appeal to most mammals.
Hot Pepper Treatments: If you'd like to deter deer from eating your bird seed, consider using seeds that have a hot pepper coating. These aren't as spicy as capsaicin, but the heat of the pepper is too much for the deer's taste buds.
Don't store your birdseed outside: Keeping it in a secure area, such as a garage or shed, will keep deer from getting to it.
Deer have a specialized stomach, which produces too much acid when they eat anything that doesn't match their wild grasses, forbs and shrubs. This can cause a number of diseases to spread in the wild, including chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis.