Understanding Deer Feed Protein

Deer Feedings

Understanding Deer Feed Protein

When it comes to feeding deer, protein is an essential nutrient that should be considered. Deer require adequate protein for growth, antler development, and overall health. However, not all deer feed protein sources are created equal.

Sources of Protein in Deer Feed

There are various protein sources you can choose from when it comes to deer feed. Some of the most common protein sources in deer feed include soybeans, alfalfa, peas, and corn. Soybean and alfalfa are considered high-quality proteins that provide all the essential amino acids required by deer.

Other protein sources like corn and peas are less expensive and less nutritious than soybeans and alfalfa. Corn is a carbohydrate-rich grain that contains only a small amount of protein. Peas, on the other hand, contain a moderate amount of protein but are unsuitable for feeding beyond the summer months.

The Importance of Protein in Deer Feed

Protein is an essential nutrient that deer need for growth, reproduction, and overall well being. Protein plays a crucial role in the development of antlers, which are a sign of good health in male deer. A lack of protein in deer feed can lead to stunted growth and inadequate antler development.

Moreover, when deer do not consume enough protein, they tend to overeat other foods in an attempt to meet their nutritional needs. This can lead to health problems such as diarrhea, bloating, and even death in severe cases.

Ideal Protein Level in Deer Feed

The ideal protein level in deer feed varies depending on the age and activity level of the deer. For fawns, a protein level of around 16-18% is acceptable. Bucks, on the other hand, require a protein level of around 20-25% during the antler growth period.

However, it’s important to note that feeding excess protein can be harmful to deer. High levels of protein can lead to kidney damage and other health problems. Therefore, it’s crucial to select a deer feed with a balanced protein level that meets the specific nutritional needs of the deer you’re feeding.


In summary, protein is an essential nutrient that should not be overlooked when it comes to feeding deer. The type and level of protein in deer feed can significantly impact the health and wellbeing of deer. Therefore, it’s important to choose a balanced deer feed that meets the specific needs of the deer you’re feeding. Our partner, Cervid Complete Feed offers specialty blended feeds that come with a unique coating of vitamin infused oil and organic minerals. Contact them on our website to get offers on bulk inquiries.


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