Do Deer Eat Oranges and Other Citrus Fruits?

Are you finding your orange tree with some missing oranges and bitten leaves? Well, it could be because of deer. But Do Deer Eat Oranges? If you are a framer, a deer enthusiast, a hunter, or a local with orange trees in the backyard, this question must have crossed your mind.

Usually, farmers and people with backyards in deer inhabitant areas plant orange or other citrus fruit trees to ward off the deer. It is because they think the smell of the oranges, tangerines, and other citrus fruits will prevent deer from entering their garden or fields. 

To cut the chase short, Yes, Deer eat oranges. The sweet taste of the oranges is quite tempting for deer that they may even wander into your backyard searching for sweet and juicy citrus fruits.

While it may be amusing for most of us to watch a beautiful, innocent deer savoring the oranges in our backyard, it may be alarming for farmers. Deer may cause damage to their plantations.

Debunking the Common Misconception!

If you have been planting orange trees, tangerines, or any other citrus fruits in your backyard, thinking you can keep the deer at bay, you are wrong. For years, farmers and hobbyist gardeners have been planting orange trees to prevent the deer from entering their premises. However, it doesn’t work. You are luring the beautiful creatures to your gardens by yourself.

Yes, you are reading it correctly! The sharp smell of the oranges, tangerines, and other citrus fruits attracts deer. They can smell the citrus scents from a distance and come looking for the oranges. Deer are amused by the smell as well as the taste of the oranges!

Why Do Deer Eat Oranges? 

Deer have a great fondness for oranges and other citrus fruits. There are no particular reasons why deer love to eat oranges. However, this citrus fruit is a charming attraction to deer because of its taste and aroma.

The juicy pulp of the oranges and tangerines are easy to bite, and the deer can munch on them effortlessly. Not only does the sweetness of the oranges satisfy their cravings, but it also provides them with the necessary nutrients to keep them healthy. 

Oranges are packed with many nutrients like high Vitamin C count, essential for immune regulation, metabolic functions, tissue growth and maintenance, and amelioration of oxidative stress. 

Moreover, the fiber in the oranges is necessary to maintain optimal rumen function and regulate their digestive systems. Other nutrients in oranges that benefit deer include sugar, protein, vitamin A, calcium, potassium, and carbohydrates. 

Besides cravings and nutrients, oranges are also a great source of hydration for deer. In short, it is not wrong to say that oranges are a one-stop shop for everything deer require to survive. 

Are Oranges Safe for Deer?

Many believe that oranges are harmful to deer due to the sugars (sweetness) in the fruit. However, this is not the case. Oranges hold no danger to deer, irrespective of their age, whether they are fawns or fully grown adults.

Many studies have proven that it is safe for deer to eat this fruit; about 5-6 per day can be sufficient for one deer. It is safe to say that oranges don’t have anything that harms deer. There’s no harm in the oranges, whether it’s the pulp, peel, or leaves. 

Should You Feed Oranges to Deer?

As discussed above, there is no harm in feeding oranges to deer. However, if you constantly feed oranges or any other fruit to deer, it disrupts their natural feeding habits. 

It has been advised by wildlife preserve authorities to avoid feeding oranges or any other fruits or vegetables to deer. There are many compelling reasons you should avoid feeding any fruit or vegetable to deer. 

Number one is that when you start feeding the deer, it disrupts their natural eating habits. It means you are making them lazy, and they would eventually stop searching for food in their natural habitat. What it does is risk their survival instincts. 

Secondly, by feeding deer oranges or other fruits or vegetables, you bring them dangerously in close contact with the people. While it may not be dangerous for the people, it may be hazardous for these poor creatures.

Deer or other animals eating at the feed sites set up by humans have a high risk of getting hit by vehicles and catching diseases that can spread among their population.

Thirdly, during the winters, it can be very exhausting for the deer to travel from one feed site to another in search of food. It can cause their fat reserves to burn, which they need for survival during the winter season. 

So the final verdict is that you should avoid feeding oranges or any other food item to deer, no matter how amusing it may look!

Are Oranges Good For Bulking Up for Hibernation?

As oranges are a great source of nutrients and hydration for the deer, people often think this fruit is excellent for deer to bulk up before hibernation. However, the fact is that they are not; oranges don’t have the necessary nutrients that deer require to prepare for the winters and hibernation. To survive, winter deer need food with lots of fat reserves. Therefore, oranges are not good food for hibernation. 

How Do Deer Eat Oranges?

Believe it or not, this question has been searched for a lot. Now this question has two answers. One that tells you literally how deer eat oranges. And the second is which parts of the oranges do deer consume!

First, let’s understand how deer eat oranges. Usually, they consume oranges or any other fruits that they find falling on the ground. However, they also eat the fruits that are hanging on the trees.

The deer lift their head to the fruit’s height and uses their tongues to reach the orange. They take small bites of the oranges. They precariously eat all the edible parts and discards the non-edible and leftovers on the ground. 

When it comes to oranges, deer eat all the parts, which include the flesh, orange peels, and even the leaves. The only thing that deer don’t consume in orange is the seeds.

When they bite the orange flesh, they carefully avoid consuming the fruit seeds and discard them on the ground. 

Do Deer Eat Other Citrus Fruits, And Why?

Although the fruits and leaves of citrus fruits like lime, lemon, and tangerines have a sharp aroma, deer would still prefer to take a bite on them, especially if they don’t have other options.

However, compared to limes and lemons, if you have other fruit trees or plantations, they would leave your limes and lemons alone. 

On the other hand, when it comes to tangerines, deer love them as much as they love oranges. And it’s for the same reason. The sweet, citrus flavors of the tangerines, combined with loads of nutrients and sources of hydration, attract deer to savor the fruit. 

How to Protect Orange Tree and Plantation from deer?

Whether you are a framer or hobbyist gardener who loves to plant oranges, tangerines, or other plantations, you need to adopt some ways to protect your plantation from deer because orange or orange peels don’t scare away the deer. 

So one of the most effective solutions is to plant orange trees or other citrus fruits in areas that are not deer inhabitants. If you love an area that the deer inhibit, and you still want to plant oranges or tangerines in your backyard, set up fences or use netting. 

If you use netting, ensure it is firmly tightened, as deer are adept at finding their way through physical barriers. Another effective solution is to use deer repellents (other than oranges). You can spray them directly on the braid or the fences.

While oranges or tangerines don’t scare away the deer, some plants are still known to ward off the deer. You can plant marigolds, garlic, lavender, rosemary, or cedar near or around your backyard to keep the deer at bay!

Are These Fruit Trees Deer Repellent?

Like the oranges, tangerines, limes, and lemons, other fruit trees are often considered deer resistant or repellent. They primarily include fruits like:

  • PawPaw
  • Figs
  • Kousa Dogwoods
  • MayHaw
  • Quince
  • Tomatoes

While there are some fruits among the list that are least liked or greatly avoided by the deer, not all of them are disliked by the fou-legged, wide-eyed, beautiful creature! To clear out the confusion, we have discussed each fruit in detail and why/why not the deer eat those fruits. 

Do Deer Eat Pawpaw Fruit, And Why?

The pawpaw is an exciting fruit with an ungainly appearance. The fruit is often compared with bananas, except it is packed with hints of mango, citrus, and vanilla flavors. 

Now back to the question of whether deer eat pawpaw fruits or not. Deer, avoid munching on the pawpaw fruits. Unlike other animals, including Opossums, foxes, squirrels, raccoons, and birds, deer don’t enjoy eating pawpaw despite the variety of flavors. 

According to the NCRN forest data, deer significantly avoid pawpaw fruits. They don’t find pawpaw foliage palatable. Hence they avoid browning pawpaw seedlings as well as saplings. 

Do Deer Eat Fig Fruits, And Why?

Unlike their love for oranges and tangerines, deer don’t have an excellent appetite for figs. It is because of many reasons. It’s not that they avoid entirely eating the fig. 

The taste of the fig tree leaves is not palatable for the deer, so they avoid eating figs from the tree. However, if they find the figs fallen on the ground, they may eat them.

In addition to the unpleasant taste of the fig leaves, deer also don’t like the wax-like sap texture of the figs. It is hard for the deer to digest the waxy sappy fig fruit.

For this reason, deer are resistant and avoid fig fruits and trees. Therefore, fig trees are considered deer resistant or deer repellent trees. A fig fruit will be perfect if you wish not to let a deer join the grand buffet hosted in your garden.

Do Deer Eat Kousa Dogwood Fruit, And Why?

While Kousa Dogwoods is an edible human fruit, it’s not the same for deer. It’s one of the fruits that deer don’t crave. Kousa Dogwood is considered one of the top things to plant to ward off deer. 

It is often known as a ‘Deer resistant’ fruit tree. So, if you find your garden disheveled with few fruits, vegetables, or leaves missing or bitten, try planting the Kousa Dogwood!

Do Deer Eat Mayhaw Fruit, And Why?

Mayhaw fruit is the fruit of the mayhaw tree, a lesser-known berry. These are harvested in May during the early summers.

Mayhaw is hawthorn berries that ripen and drop on the ground during the early summers. Mayhaw berries are either white or light pink with one large seed. Its taste is a combination of apples, crabapples, and cherries. 

As Mayhews are the berries, it is improbable for deer not to feast on them. Due to the short berry season and high competition in the wild, deer frequently champ for the berries. 

It is because berries provide many calories and sugars that help them survive the winters. Like the oranges and tangerines, deer consume mayhaw berries to hydrate themselves and survive periods of drought.

There are three types of mayhaw trees: the eastern, hybrid, and western species. Each mayhaw tree produces different fruit that varies in level of sweetness. 

The fruit of the eastern mayhaw is sweet but not sweet enough to be among deer favorites. Usually, deer munch and browse on the fruits of the hybrid and western mayhaw trees. 

Do Deer Eat Quince Fruit, And Why?

Quinces are a tasty berry species that is often used in many desserts. These are grown on a small evergreen tree with white flowers. Quinces can be eaten raw but are mainly used for cooking and making jams and jellies. 

Due to the tasty flavors and the high level of vitamin C, animals, including deer, rabbits, and birds, love to savor the fruit. Though deer do not eat the quinces as their primary food source, they love to eat them whenever they are found.

It’s not just the fruit that attracts the deer but also the tree leaves, shoots, and bark that are palatable for deer. In addition, deer are also very fond of eating the flowers of the quince trees. As flowers are a type of nectar, they are high in sugars which provide energy for the deer. 

Do Deer Eat Tomato Fruit, And Why?

Finding a tomato plant rid of all of its tomatoes is no surprise, especially in an area with a heavy deer population. Deer love tomato fruits because of their taste and benefits. It’s not only the tomato fruit that finds its way to the deer’s stomach but also the leaves and veins.

Deer damage to the tomato plantation resembles that of the rabbits. However, it is more messy and on a large scale. If your entire plant disappears or you notice a large amount of foliage torn off, a deer or a group of deer may have visited your garden!

Do Deer Eat Fruit Trees, And Why?

The last question we think is as important as addressing whether deer eat oranges or other fruits is, ‘do deer eat fruit trees?’

Deer require to eat seven pounds of vegetation per day to fulfill their hunger. For that reason, if they come across the fruit trees or plantation, they would happily munch on every part of it without feeling guilty. 

Deer occasionally consume fruit trees, and even if they do not eat the fruit, they feast on the leaves and shoots of the plant.

Wrapping Up Do Deer Eat Oranges?

To wrap up our discussion, we can easily conclude that deer eat, in fact, love oranges. So, if you have planted oranges to keep the deer away from your gardens, find another solution. 

Whether it’s the oranges or any other plantation, use tall fences and strong netting if you are neighbors with the deer. And while it may be helpful to plant deer-resistant trees like Kausa dogwood, marigolds, garlic, lavender, rosemary, or cedar, it is always better to spray repellents and strong scents over the trees and fences.