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Do Deer Eat Acorns? (Yes. They Do)

Do Deer Eat Acorns? (Yes. They Do)

Acorns are a type of nut that becomes available during the frost season. They are available in numbers in the wild and various residential areas. Interestingly, deer tend to be common in areas where you find acorns. Hence, it is proper to be curious about the relationship between the fruit and the animal. So, do deer eat acorns?

This article will explain all you need to know about deer and acorns. It contains information about the eating preference of deer and why acorns are top of the list. The article also explains how you can use this to your benefit.

Read: Do Deer Eat Mandevilla?

Can Deer Eat Acorns?

Acorns are dear to deers. They make up a large percentage of their diet during the fruiting season. These nutritious nuts are juicy and lovely for consumption. Another point of attraction for deer is the number they produce during their respective season. Where deers go, there you find nuts.

Acorns are fruits from the famous class of oak trees. Like many other trees, oak trees have about 500 individual species. The various species have different features that set them apart. However, most produce fruit during autumn and only for a few months. The good news is that when they fruit, it is in large numbers. This production type means plenty of acorns for a flock of deers to eat to satisfaction.

Another feature that sets them apart is the level of tannic acid concentration in the fruit. The tannic acid level depends on the species of oak producing the nuts. The tannic acid level influences how deers consume these acorns.

Tannic acid is bitter, so the higher the concentration in the acorn, the bitter it gets. Hence, acorns with low tannin concentration are deer’s favorite types of nuts. One typical example is the White Oak with a low acid concentration. However, white oak acorns are not the only pick for deer. They feast on a few other species.

Do Deer Eat Burr Oak Acorns?

Burr Oak acorns are part of deer’s favorite picks in a world of nuts. So you will find hungry deers feasting dearly if there is a Burr oak in the area during the frost season. Burr oak is a big-sized species; hence they attract deer for this reason. With the enormous size comes a lot of nutrients and nourishment.

The size of the Burr oak acorns means that deers can eat quickly and get filled fast. However, they are not the first on the list of deer’s favorite acorns due to their taste. Burr oak acorns have medium tannic concentration, which affects the taste. The bitterness from this tannic concentration makes it less desirable for deer.

Regardless of the taste, the size is a point of attraction. That means deer can eat a few nuts and leave the tree, especially if it’s a tree in a residential area or where hunters are readily available. If you have this tree in your area or yard, deer would be available around the production season.

Do Deer Eat Red Oak Acorns?

Red oak acorns are another excellent choice for deer. Like burr oak acorns, they are also large fruits. Hence the size is a source of attraction for the animals. However, the relatively high tannic concentration is why this species is not top of the list. However, its nutritious value and some other factors make it desirable.

One critical detail about red oak acorns is their enormous size makes them edible. Deer do not have a hard time eating the juicy parts. The ease is another reason deer would pick red oak acorns when the most preferred white oak acorns are unavailable.

Also, when red oak acorns fall, they remain edible in their litter for a long time. So, while other acorns are starting to rot, red oak acorns remain. Deer can continue to eat these fruits for a more extended period after the season.

How do You Feed Deer Acorns?

Acorns can serve as bait to attract deer. The goal is to collect large numbers of acorns during its fruiting seasons and feed them to the animals for various reasons. It would be best to find a big tree where you can gather these seeds in large numbers. Sort them out and separate fresh fruits from rotting ones.

After sorting, spread the nuts openly in an enclosed area to sun-dry for a while. Once dry, you can pack it in proper storage places to use later. When feeding deer acorns, it is better to use open space. It is also appropriate to do this after natural production has ended. Only then will acorns serve as actual bait for deer.

What do Deer Eat After the Acorns are Gone?

There are numerous options for deer when they feel like eating nuts, even after the acorns are gone. Deer love nuts and acorn is not the only name on the list. Beech nuts are another type of nut they love to eat. Some other options include cherry seeds and maple tree leaves. So there is plenty of food around when acorn season is over.

Fibrous fruits and plants that remain throughout the year serve as backup for deer. They also love to eat woody plants. When acorns are unavailable, fruits like apples, and pawpaw, are good options to consider in feeding the deer.

Acorns of different species are also available during the frost season. So there is no shortage of options. Summer, on the other hand, gives deer other options. Newly growing grasses and young trees produce new leaves.

Do Rabbits Eat Acorns?

Yes, rabbits are another type of animal that feed on acorns. Still, it is not advisable to feed domestic rabbits acorns. The feeding relationship between rabbits and acorns is different and unusual. Acorns are not part of the fruits that rabbits would readily eat. Generally, rabbits tend to stay away from nuts due to their high carbohydrate content.

Rabbits that live in the wild and free-roaming rabbits can eat acorns when preferred options are scarce. However, the high carbohydrate concentration makes it less desirable. Wild rabbits tend to move a lot so they can burn the carbs through movement. But domestic rabbits do not move as much. Hence you should avoid feeding them acorns.

Excessive carbohydrates can lead to issues with the digestive system. Diarrhea and bloating are common problems when rabbits feed on acorns.

Read: Do Deer Eat Nasturtiums?

Another problem with acorns where rabbits are concerned is the tannic acid concentration in the nuts. Depending on the species, the acid concentration can be very toxic to the health of rabbits. So, it is best to remove acorns from rabbits’ diet.

What do Deer Like to Eat the Most?

Deer are gentle herbivores, meaning they focus on one plant and parts of trees. Twigs of woody branches, scrubs, leaves, and grass are top of the list of what deer love to eat. So when looking for what deer would readily eat, consider getting the woody parts of leaves and stems. Other favorites include grapes, lettuce, mushrooms, and apples.

Deer are soft. They prefer food options that are soft and edible. This softness is why they are selective in their diet. For example, when consuming grass, deer prefer young-growing grass that is soft to chewy old grass that requires too much effort to chew.

Their main nutritional target is carbohydrates. They prefer plants with a high concentration of carbs. A likely reason why this animal loves acorns.

One factor that influences deer feeding habits and choices is the seasons. Different seasons present deer with varying options. While they continue to feed on plants available throughout the year, they also focus on seasonal fruits when right. But the broad leaves, stems, twigs, and woody plants remain deer’s favorite option throughout the year.

What Other Animals Eat Acorns?

A deer must compete with several other animals for acorn consumption during its fruiting season. Where there are nuts, squirrels of different kinds and species are sure to follow. Other animals include foxes, raccoons, and wild hogs. They are all available during the frost period waiting to feed on falling acorns.

Acorns are a reliable source of nutrition for many herbivores in the wild. The various species and quantity of production mean there are nuts for all. Hence it quickly catches the attention of these animals.

Interestingly, the competition for acorns does not end with herbivores or land animals. Birds of the sky also love to find solace under the oversized shades of long living oak trees. They also love to eat acorns when it is available. Birds eating acorns include wood ducks, woodpeckers, crows, and wild turkeys.

These many animals show the importance of acorns in the wild. It’s good that fruits are always available in numbers for animals.


Acorns remain a significant part of deer diets during its season. The numerous competitions do not affect this animal. The different species give deer a wide range of options. However, the level of tannic acid is the main factor when picking your favorite acorns. Understandably, deer eat many other plants throughout the year but love that acorn taste.