Do Deer Eat Cabbage? The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Deer’s Eating Habits

Do Deer Eat Cabbage
Rate this post

Deer and cabbage are two things that seem to have no correlation. Deer, known for their delicate grazing habits, and cabbage, a crunchy vegetable that is loved by humans, are worlds apart. But have you ever wondered if deer eat cabbage? Do Deer Eat Cabbage? If you’re a gardener or farmer, this question is crucial.

In this article, will explore the relationship between deer and cabbage. We will dive into the eating habits of deer, the nutritional value of cabbage, and whether or not deer consume cabbage. So, let’s start by defining what deer and cabbage are and why they are essential.

What Do Deer Eat?

Do deer eat cabbage? Here's the proof!
Do deer eat cabbage? Here’s the proof!

Deer are herbivores, which means they only eat plants. They have a diverse diet that depends on their natural habitat and the season. Here are some general categories of food that deer consume:

A. General Diet of Deer

Deer’s general diet involves grazing on grasses, forbs, and woody plants. They browse shrubs, tree leaves, and buds in the winter when other food sources are scarce. In the summer, they eat flowers, fruits, and nuts.

B. Types of Food Preferred by Deer

Deer prefer to eat a variety of plants, but some are more appealing than others. They like to eat plants that are high in nutrients and have a sweet taste. Some of their favorite foods include acorns, apples, clover, and soybeans.

C. Factors that Influence Deer’s Diet

Deer’s diet depends on various factors, such as their natural habitat, the season, and food availability. They will eat what is readily available to them, so their diet may change based on the area they inhabit. Additionally, climate change has affected the availability of food, causing deer to adapt to new food sources.

Do Deer Eat Cabbage?

Deer feasting on cabbage in a farmer's field
Deer feasting on cabbage in a farmer’s field

Many gardeners and farmers have been left wondering whether deer eat cabbage or not. The answer is not straightforward, as deer have a varied diet, but they have been known to consume cabbage in certain circumstances. Let’s explore the reasons why deer may eat cabbage, the factors that influence their eating habits, and some observations of deer eating cabbage.

A. Reasons Why Deer May Eat Cabbage

Deer are herbivores and will eat anything that is green and edible. They are known to eat crops, flowers, and fruits, and cabbage is no exception. However, there are specific reasons why deer may eat cabbage. One reason is that they may be attracted to the smell of the cabbage. Cabbage emits a sweet scent that is appealing to deer, especially during the winter when food is scarce. Additionally, cabbage is rich in nutrients, which makes it an attractive food source for deer.

B. Factors That May Influence Deer to Eat Cabbage

Deer are opportunistic feeders, and their eating habits are influenced by several factors. One of the most significant factors is the availability of food. If there is a shortage of food in their natural habitat, they may venture into gardens and farms to find food, including cabbage. Another factor that may influence deer to eat cabbage is their taste preferences. Deer have a unique sense of taste, and they may prefer the taste of cabbage over other plants.

C. Observations of Deer Eating Cabbage

There have been several observations of deer eating cabbage in gardens and farms. Deer have been caught on camera eating cabbage plants and causing damage to crops. While this may be frustrating for gardeners and farmers, it shows that deer can and do eat cabbage. However, it’s essential to note that not all deer will eat cabbage, as their diets vary depending on their location and the availability of food.

Risks of Deer Eating Cabbage

Exploring the deer-cabbage relationship
Exploring the deer-cabbage relationship

While cabbage is a healthy vegetable for humans, it might not be the same for deer. It’s crucial to understand the risks associated with deer eating cabbage.

A. Negative Effects of Cabbage on Deer

Cabbage contains thiocyanates, which can be harmful to deer in large quantities. Thiocyanates can lead to thyroid problems, affecting the deer’s metabolism and causing weight loss. Additionally, cabbage can cause bloating and indigestion in deer.

B. Health Risks for Deer

Deer can also develop digestive problems from consuming cabbage. The high fiber content in cabbage can lead to diarrhea, which can cause dehydration and malnutrition. Furthermore, if cabbage is treated with pesticides or herbicides, deer can become sick and even die from consuming it.

C. Possible Consequences of Deer Eating Cabbage

If deer start consuming cabbage, it can lead to a change in their diet, which can have negative effects on their health and survival. Deer may start to rely on cabbage as their primary food source, leading to malnutrition and starvation. Additionally, if deer start eating cabbage from gardens or farms, it can result in property damage and financial loss.

In conclusion, while deer may eat cabbage, it’s essential to understand the risks associated with it. Gardeners and farmers should take precautions to keep deer away from their cabbage crops to prevent damage and health risks for the deer.


In conclusion, the question “do deer eat cabbage?” has been answered. While deer are not known for consuming cabbage, it is not uncommon for them to do so. However, it is important to understand that cabbage does not provide all the essential nutrients that deer need to survive. Moreover, over-consumption of cabbage can lead to health risks for deer.

On the other hand, cabbage is a nutritious vegetable that has numerous benefits for humans. Cabbage is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help boost the immune system, promote digestion, and reduce inflammation.

As gardeners and farmers, it is important to protect our crops from wildlife damage while also ensuring animal welfare. To do so, we can use deer repellents or fencing to keep deer away from our crops. Additionally, we can plant deer-resistant crops, which will reduce the likelihood of deer consuming our cabbage plants.

In conclusion, understanding the eating habits of deer and the nutritional value of cabbage is crucial for gardeners and farmers. By taking necessary precautions and using preventive measures, we can ensure the safety of our crops and the well-being of deer. For more information on the nutritional benefits of cabbage, please visit