Deer have some serious appetites and while they have their favorites, they will eat almost any plant they encounter.
Do Deer Eat Carrots?
Yes, deer will eat carrots. Carrots are a good source of food for deer, as they are high in sugar and easy to digest.
Will Deer Eat the Entire Carrot Plant
Not only will deer eat raw carrots, but also the stalk and stems. They can pull them out of the ground with their strong teeth, and they’re not going to leave much of anything behind, aside from the hole where the carrot once was.
How to Tell if a Deer is Eating Your Carrots
So we know that whitetail deer eat carrots, but how can you tell if they are the culprits destroying your carrot garden or if it was other wild animals?
Since other animals will eat raw carrots, it’s important to look for signs that it was the local deer population.
1. Look for Deer Scat
Deer have a pretty distinct looking scat pile. While deer scat might look similar to a rabbits, they will usually be in one pile, whereas rabbits move around as they go, so it would be more spread out.
2. Deer Hoofprints
You can also check the ground and surrounding area for deer prints. Their hooves leave a specific type of print on the ground, so if the ground is damp or very dry, you should be able to see some prints nearby.
3. Plants and Grasses Nearby Are Flattened
Deer are heavy animals, weighing up to 180 pounds fully grown. They aren’t going to get in and out without leaving behind some clues.
If you notice that some other plants nearby are broken or the grass is flattened, it’s a good sign that a wild deer (or other large animal) was here.
How to Keep Deer Out of the Garden
There are plenty of good ways to keep deer out of the garden so they don’t eat all of your carrots.
1. Build a Fence
A fence is the only real foolproof way to keep deer from destroying your plants. However, the fence needs to be around 7-8 feet tall if you want to keep them out for sure.
Anything smaller, and they will jump it to get to their favorite snacks.
2. Deer Netting
Deer netting is another good option for keeping deer out of the garden. Placing these nets over the garden and other plants you want to keep safe from birds and deer will help.
While they might be able to reach the plants, the netting will help keep them from eating the plant or pulling the carrots out of the ground.
Garden netting helps keep animals from ravaging your garden:
- And more
3. Motion Activated Sprinkler
One of my favorite ways to keep deer from feeding on your precious garden plants is to install a motion-activated sprinkler.
I tested it out and it has some power! Here is the motion-activated sprinkler in action in my garden:
Essentially, when the sprinkler notices there is movement nearby, it will start spraying water in that direction. Since deer are scared off by loud noises and unexpected movement, this can be a great way to keep them from ravaging your garden.
A motion activated sprinkler works wonders for keeping animals (and people!) out of your yard. It sprays intermittently as it detects continuous motion so animals won't get used to the timing of it.
4. Grow Deer Resistant Plants Nearby
There are a number of deer resistant plants you can grow near your carrots to keep them away. Some of the more effective ones to help repel deer are:
- Herbs like basil, mint, dill, and fennel that have a pungent scent
Deer will eat all kinds of fruits and vegetables, but there are some that deer love to eat more than others:
- Leafy greens
- Root vegetables
- Corn/deer corn
Keeping the plants that attracts deer away from your carrots and other vegetables can be a good way to keep the deer population to a minimum.
5. Irish Spring Soap
Deer don’t like the smell of Irish Spring soap, in fact who does?! 🙂
If you take a bar of Irish Spring and hang it the outside of the garden fence or around the perimeter of your garden, the deer will smell it and stay away. You can hang it up in old stockings that will allow the scent to permeate.
Deer have a very keen sense of smell and they will not come near that strong smelling Irish Spring.
Can Deer Die From Eating Too Many Carrots
While it’s unlikely to kill a deer, it can cause some unwanted side effects for the deer. As with any animal, eating too much of the same types of food can cause problems in the digestive system. Deer need a lot of protein to get a balanced diet and carrots don’t have much protein at all in them.