a deer eating and foraging for food

Do Deer Eat Potatoes?

Deer are magnificent creatures with a varied diet primarily consisting of natural vegetation like grass, leaves, and fruits. While deer generally do not seek out potatoes as a primary food source, they may turn to them if their usual food supply is limited.

In this article, we will explore the connection between deer and potatoes, highlighting the circumstances under which deer may consume them, the potential risks involved, and preventive measures to protect potato crops. Additionally, we’ll discuss the recommended dietary practices for raising deer and the best types of foods for their overall health.

Deer and Potatoes: A Last Resort

Deer typically do not actively seek out potatoes unless their natural food sources are scarce. During times of food scarcity, deer may resort to eating potato tops or even dig for their tubers in the soil as a last resort to survive.

Deer and Sweet Potatoes

Deer will be much more attracted to the foliage of the sweet potato plant as it does not have the bitter taste (or solanine) that traditional potatoes have. Deer would be more likely to stand and feed for longer on a plot of sweet potatoes than ordinary potatoes. The deliberate planting of sweet potatoes in deer areas is a tactic used by hunters, used to lure the deer into a trap.

Preventive Measures to Protect Potato Crops from Deer

To prevent deer from eating potato crops, consider the following measures:

Fencing: Erecting sturdy and tall fences around the potato fields can effectively deter deer from accessing the crops.

Repellents: Utilizing natural deer repellents like strong-smelling plants or commercial products may discourage deer from approaching potato plants.

Scare Tactics: Employing scare devices such as noise-making tools or motion-activated lights can startle deer and keep them away from the crops.

Raising Deer: Recommended Feeding Practices

For those raising deer, it’s essential to avoid feeding raw potatoes to these animals, as they contain toxic compounds like solanine. Even if cooked, potatoes should be fed in moderation to prevent any potential digestive issues.

Optimal Deer Diet: Providing Balanced Nutrition

Feeding deer a varied and balanced diet is vital for their well-being. The best types of foods for deer include:

Natural Forage: Allow deer access to natural vegetation like grass, leaves, shrubs, and fruits, as they are adapted to thrive on this diet.

Commercial Deer Pellets: High-quality deer pellets formulated to meet the nutritional needs of deer can be beneficial as part of their diet.

Supplements: Depending on the specific needs of the deer, appropriate supplements can enhance their overall health and growth.


While deer do not typically seek out traditional potatoes as a primary food source, they may turn to them if their usual food supply is scarce. Sweet potatoes are much more alluring than traditional potato crops. To prevent deer from eating potato crops, employing measures like fencing, repellents, and scare tactics can be effective.

For those raising deer, feeding raw potatoes is not recommended due to toxic compounds, and cooked potatoes should be offered in moderation. Providing a balanced diet that includes natural forage, commercial deer pellets, and suitable supplements ensures the overall health and well-being of these majestic animals in captivity.