If you grow pumpkins and you have a surplus or Halloween has just ended, and you don’t know what to do with the leftover pumpkins, you might be tempted to toss them in the garden for the deer to eat.
So, do deer eat pumpkins? Yes, deer do eat pumpkins. In fact, they are one of their most preferred foods.
Deer love eating the pumpkin guts more than the shell, so when feeding the pumpkins to them, consider breaking open the pumpkin first.
The animals not only feed on the ripe fruit, but on the leaves as well. In summer, they will feed on the leaves then feed on the fruit in the fall.
Here is evidence of a deer eating pumpkins.
Tips when feeding pumpkins to deer
As mentioned above, when you are feeding pumpkins to deer, you should open them up to allow easy access.
If the animals frequent your home or you rear them, you only need to place the pumpkins on your garden. If you live near a forest, place them in the area they spend most of their time.
AlSO READ: Do deer eat marigold?
Deer not eating pumpkins
Last Halloween, my brother George put some pumpkins out on his garden for the deer to feed on them, but after a few nights, none had been touched.
When I mentioned to him that indeed deer eat pumpkins, he was shocked as his pumpkins ended up rotting in the garden.
You should know that while deer are attracted to pumpkins, they aren’t their top favorite food.
The animals eat other foods such as cultivated vegetables, grass, beans, corn, acorns, sweet potatoes, rye, and many others more than pumpkins.
Therefore, if you notice deer not eating pumpkins, they are either starving, or there are plenty of other food alternatives.
How healthy are the pumpkins to the deer?
Pumpkins are 100% healthy for the deer. Pumpkin guts are filled with fiber-rich content that not only improves digestion, but also increases the deer’s bone strength.
Other than fiber, pumpkins are also rich in potassium and vitamin C that have excellent nutritional value to the deer.
Pumpkin seeds contain a good amount of fat the deer desperately needs to make through the winter months.
What if you don’t want deer to feed on your pumpkins?
If you have a pumpkin patch and you have deer living in the vicinity, you should protect your pumpkins.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways in which you can protect your patch. Some of these ways include:
Build a fence
In addition to a fence preventing deer from getting to your pumpkins, it also makes you a good neighbor.
Deer can jump up to eight feet, so the fence should be tall enough. The fence also shouldn’t allow the deer to find their way around it, climb through, or sneak under it.
If you can afford it, put up an electric fence with horizontal wires spaced at 10, 20, and 30 inches off the ground.
Cover the path with a net
If you have just a few pumpkins, or you can’t afford to construct a fence, consider covering the pumpkins with a tent.
When covering the pumpkin patch, do it in such a way that the deer can’t hook the net and toss it aside.
Use deer repellents
Applying good quality deer repellents to the perimeter of the pumpkin patch can go a long way towards preventing your pumpkins from getting destroyed by the deer.
Read the label properly to determine how and when to apply and reapply the repellant.
You should note that there are some deer repellant knock offs in the market that wear off too fast, making them impractical to use.
Some repellants are harmful to the pumpkins, so spray them from a safe distance.
Put a dog to task
The good furry friend not only makes an excellent pet, but he can also keep off the harmful deer from your yard.
All you need to do is to place the dog in the yard, and its roaming will deter the deer.
Make use of a motion-activated sprinkler
When deer walk up to this sprinkler, their motion turns it on. This, in turn, scares the deer away from the area around the sprinkler.
The motion-activated sprinkler is not only effective at keeping off deer, but other animals and birds as well.
One of the best motion activated sprinklers we recommend is the Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer that has both day and night detection modes.
What should you do with leftover pumpkins after Halloween?
Many homeowners living in areas frequented by deer know of only one way of disposing of their leftover Halloween pumpkins—giving it to the deer. Did you know there are plenty of other things you can do with the pumpkins? Some of these things include:
Fertilize your garden using the pumpkins
Even if you would love to feed the pumpkins to the deer, there is no way they are going to feed on them if they are rotting.
What should you do instead?
Smash the pumpkin and mix the bit into your garden. The pumpkin will break down and add nutrients to the soil.
Remember to remove any melted wax, candle, or seeds from the pumpkin. You don’t want new pumpkins on your farm the next year, do you?
Feed the birds
This is easy. Cut off the bottom half of the pumpkin and fill it with birdseed. As the birds eat the seeds, they also feed on the pumpkins!
Plant flowers inside pumpkins
Did you know you can plant flowers inside old pumpkins? All you need to do is to plant the flowers you are interested in and bury the entire pumpkin. The bacteria in the soil will break down the pumpkins leaving the flowers growing in the fertilized soil.
Remember to remove seeds unless you want pumpkins in your garden.
Show off your lantern
Would you love to show off your lantern for a few more days after Halloween? Rub the insides of the pumpkin with cinnamon and poke a few cloves in the flesh. You should then light a candle inside the fruit and enjoy the autumn scent.
Make a stamp
To do it, use a sharp knife to cut simple shapes out of the pumpkin’s flesh. For ideal results, cut at least an inch from the insides of the pumpkin to access the less stringy texture that makes stamps awesome.
Brew pumpkin beer
Everyone is talking about home brewing, and why not join the bandwagon and make your own pumpkin ale? While pumpkin ale might sound weird, it has actually been around for a long time. In fact, it was a traditional beer ingredient in colonial times.
Make pumpkin pickles
No part of the pumpkin should go to waste. If you don’t want to lose the peels, make pickles out of them. The pickles are an excellent way to add sweetness and bite to sandwiches and salads.