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Thread: Will deer eat hay bails?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Delaware County, PA
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    Will deer eat hay bails?

    I been picking up from friends and family their leftover pumpkins for the deer but will the deer also eat hay bails? My neighbor has a few and said I could have them if I wanted.



  2. #2

    Hmm

    My family farm is filled! with round bales... Thats actually what we make our ground blinds out of...
    I've seen the deer sorta munch on them as their browsing around...but not a crazy amount... Not like their running to them for dinner time, just if its there while their browsing..they might nibble at it..
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  3. #3
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    i think they use them more as a land mark.they will browse them but i see alot of deer moving past them

  4. #4
    depends, what kind of hay? round bales and square bales for cows and horses are usually too "prickly" for a deer to swallow. they may nibble at bits but they wont go crazy. we sometimes drop bales and the deer dont even touch em. they like the nice tender new stuff that grows just after baling. on the other hand i have seen people put out alphalpha bales up north and the deer like em.

  5. #5

    Yeip

    Yea thats how it seems here at least... I catch them eating all around them more than anything.... and after a good bailing, they eat up all the yummy stuff coming up after about two weeks...
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  6. #6
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    add some chopped up apples,mix in a little corn,and a few chunks of sugar beets

  7. #7
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    if your talkin about the hay bales the guy used for decoration in his yard.those would be straw bales.these are usually used for cattle bedding, lawn sowing etc.... not for feed.all straw bales consist of is whats left after the whaet is harvested via a combine.
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  8. #8

    hay bales

    They will eat alfalfa bales.

  9. #9
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    They will tear up alfalfa bales! Much like cattle though, baled hay adds little to no nutritional value. It's only a filler. But again like cattle, hay helps the wall lining of a deers rumen.
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  10. #10
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    alfalfa bales yes. straw bales no.
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  11. #11
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    I have a round bale at the farm as a back stop. Its been there two years.
    There is a little sign around it every winter, and you can tell where they have pulled some out, but I'm always a little amazed at how LITTLE they do actually use it.

    But they line up 10 deep to get at my neighbor's corn cribs in January!
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  12. #12
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    Oct 2008
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    Good, FERTILIZED alfalfa or coastal bermuda hay will attract deer. All hay is not the same. Regular old grass hay does not have near the protein that good fertilized (horse hay) has. As it gets colder, the deer will move to the alfalfa or coastal hay very well. Myself and others in my area (NE) Tx. have had a lot of success with hay. Granted, its not very sweet or anything, but deer will eat ruffage ie; hay very well especially as winter gets closer. Hope this helps.

  13. #13
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    once it snows if you bust them up they eat it
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  14. #14
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    I've heard that deer can starve while eating hay. As said before there is not alot of useable nutrition and the deer need a variety of forages to produce bacteria in one of the four chambers or stomachs that aids in the digestion of the food. Without the bacteria production the food is not digested properly and they can starve with a full belly. They will eat it though.
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  15. #15
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    Not meaning to start an argument with the poster above, but fertilized hay holds a lot of protein, and protein is what deer need to keep them going especially when the temps drop.

  16. #16
    I hunt some alfalfa bottoms and it's very common to see a bale that has some of the center ate out of it. It's

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Powerstroker View Post
    Not meaning to start an argument with the poster above, but fertilized hay holds a lot of protein, and protein is what deer need to keep them going especially when the temps drop.
    I should have worded that better... there is alot of nutrition, just not useable nutrition without the bacteria from other food sources. I guess what I should have said is they will eat hay and if they have other food sorces available to help produce these bacteria then they can then use the protein. They just can't eat hay alone and survive.
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  18. #18
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    The whitetail here (North Dakota) like alfalfa bales in winter. Shot my first buck while hiding at the end of a row of them one January. Ranchers in the western part of the state put up snow fences to keep the muleys and maybe antelope out of there hay. I think they mess it up by pissing on it more than eating it.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoytviper View Post
    They will tear up alfalfa bales! Much like cattle though, baled hay adds little to no nutritional value. It's only a filler. But again like cattle, hay helps the wall lining of a deers rumen.
    I feed horses and cattle hay, if they had little to no nutrional value horses and cows would stay fat and healthy in the winter, as for deer eating hay they are forage animals, they will as others have stated will occasionally eat hay but prefer finding their own, as most farmers know the out surface of hay is usually moldy and not much use.

  20. #20
    Never witnessed it, but i would assume they might

  21. #21
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    Feb 2009
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    Driftwood, TX
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    Deer do not eat gress

    Deer do not eat grass, if they are eating stuff out of you round bales it is probably forbs.

  22. #22
    I have two square bales strapped together out in the field which I use to place my target on top of when practicing. It was this past Saturday which my wife and daughter came home after dark and my wife stuck her head in the door and told me to come outside quickly. Well she left the headlights on her 4runner turned on shining in the field and there were five does standing around my target eating the hay.

    Saw them with my own two eyes pulling strands of grass from the bails eating away and didn't seem to mind us one bit. If they keep that up I'll be having to place my block on the ground.

  23. #23

    Alfalfa bales are good feed

    I have a buddy that like to use alfalfa bales to slow erosion in ditches around his stands! I can't remember if he said it helps the erosion or the deer population?

  24. #24
    Join Date
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    Not all hay is created equal. Some hay is crap the day it was baled. But most good leafy alfalfa hay has 14-20% protien and 25-30% fiber. In hard times of cold and snow, deer hammer good leafy alfalfa. It's not ideal food to get them through the winter, but they get quality nutritional value from it for no longer than they need it in the winter.. It's actually a better supplimental feed than corn. It has a high feeding values and is underestimated as an energy source. .

    If anyone has questions look it up online from people that study the stuff, don't ask opinions, you'll get more than you can shake a stick at.

  25. #25
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    I feed about twenty head when we have bad winters. Second cut alfalfa and molasses with oats.
    Takes me about thirty square bales of hay and 25 bags of oats with molasses to see the deer through the winter.(That's the price of a new bow that could be hangin' on the wall)
    Be aware that when you start feeding deer in the winter ,you can't stop as their digestive system changes back to summer feeding and if you stop they will starve to death from eating winter browse.
    Three winters ago we had a heck of a pile of snow in December.I started to feed the deer in January and about a week later it turned super mild out with rain and most of the snow melted away. I couldn't stop feeding the little buggers,but I swear they had little smirks on their faces every evening they came in to feed. It's worth the price of feed to watch them interact.
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