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#277708 01/14/12 10:18 AM
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We have 3 deer feeders feeding pretty much exclusively corn to the deer, turkey, and various other creatures that sneak some. We do it to bc we love watching them and they entertain us, and we thought we were helping them. The guy next door hunts his property and allegedly only shoots the big ones and takes 1-2 per year for food. Anyway this past week he sent me a photo of a buck he got and said his stomach was full of corn and that was not good. Later he sent me links to sites saying feeding a lot of corn is bad for the deer and can even kill them. Our feeders dispense about 30-40 lbs per week and the hunted area including his and the guy on the other side of him is about 300 acres. He says he feeds corn from one feeder one time a day and for 10 secs. He has food plots and all eht property is about 60% wooded and has lots of privet and other things that deer can eat even in the winter to add to the variety other than corn. We will typically see 10-15 deer in out pasture out from one of the feeders. Is the guy right, are the deer over the area "gluttonizing" on our corn and not eating anything else, and thus endangering their health? Thanks.


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In the Fall and Winter, deer eat carbs. It's the best food to keep them "fueled" so to speak. Deer are typically grazers, eating a bit of this, a bit of that. Their digestion works by having bacteria break down their food. So, a deer needs to build up a bacteria colony to break down the food that it's eating. Different types of food need different bacteria.

A deer or elk could starve with a full stomach if it's running out of food, starving, and a new food source is introduced by man. They'll stuff themselves on that food, and not have enough bacteria build up in their system to actually digest that new food.

If you've been feeding corn all along, I wouldn't worry about it. The deer probably has a large percentage of corn in it's stomach because not much else out there at this time of the year will provide as much energy as corn. I'll go thru 50# of corn in a week or so at my place during this time of the year. From now until the first green stuff starts to grow is the lean time of year for the deer.

I wouldn't worry about it. I'd be interested in reading the things that he sent you. My e-mail is listed in my profile if that makes it any easier for you to send the articles.

You could tell him that you'd love to feed commercial deer feed to the deer if he'd help foot the bill. After all, you are also feeding the deer that he's eating, and helping their antlers grow too. wink


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I always start with ".edu" web sites. The one below seems balanced.

http://animalrangeextension.montana.edu/articles/wildlife/deer_tough_love.htm

The issue seems to be in one respect like bird feeders. If you stop, animals die. Second, if corn is not already part of the diet, the deer will not be acclimated (gut bacteria) to the corn, or if the corn stops, the deer may not be able to digest browse. I do not feed deer, but because I live in an agricultural area, I have harvested many deer with their bellies full of corn. They may get weaned after harvest when they must transition from standing corn to the corn left on the ground after harvest to a diet of browse. The key in your case may be moderation. Another approach might be to see what deer farmers feed their deer:

http://www.atascosawildlifesupply.com/pdfs/59SB.pdf

Or else you can do like me and only supply a mineral block, and/or plant a small food plot.

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It is no longer legal to feed deer in our area because of chronic wasting disease (CWD). The fear is that the deer will be feeding intensively from a very small area, and the saliva apparently is one way of transferring CWD.

Before the CWD issue the DNR also strongly recommended not feeding the deer in the winter because it apparently really messes up their digestive system. The reasoning for that is that in the winter, in colder climates like here, they become conditioned to living on very low nutrient levels and significant amounts of roughage. When corn is consumed, it replaces the roughage, plus it is much higher in nutrient value, both of which are apparently very detrimental their digestive systems.

As for Alabama, I just don't know. Assuming it is legal to feed in your area, it may be worth a call to the local fish and game people.


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Ken, has saliva been positively linked to CWD or is it still a theory? I haven't been following it recently, and the last that I heard there still wasn't anything conclusive as to how it was spread.

It's been out West for 30-40 years.


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They don't really know how it spreads. Here is a link from the WV DNR: WV Chronic Wasting Disease. Saliva is one theory.

They have really locked down the rules around here, as the CWD keeps spreading. We can no longer take carcasses across the state line, either direction. The deer my Virginia friends shoot have to be butchered on the Virginia side.

If there is a good part to the CWD, it is that it allows us to thin the herds through a lot of special antler-less hunting days. Even so, we still have large herds of deer. We had 12 in the front yard the other morning. I'm sure that the high concentrations of deer in this area doesn't help the CWD.


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APHIS has a fact sheet on Johnes (Chronic Wasting Disease) here:

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/a...s_disease08.pdf

They definitively link transmittal through fecal matter (primary source) and saliva/milk (secondary). Several years back, we lost Gertrude the Jersey cow to Johnes-like symptoms. At peak, she was burning through 120#+ of alfalfa + supplements per day and was still rapidly starving to death. Our vet had docs out of Davis and Iowa looking at her case and, although her blood work repeatedly confirmed she had not been exposed to CWD, we ended up putting her down for her sake (she lost approximately 225# in 4 months). We had her shipped to Orange County for necropsy but no reason was found for her condition (no tumors, parasites, negative tissue samples). As we were raising Jerseys for our private milk consumption and we enjoy raw products, we had our herd tested annually for Johnes, TB, etc.

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My bad - we refer to Johnes in California when speaking of CWD. My apologies....

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O.K., now you got me looking again.

http://www.cwd-info.org/index.php/fuseaction/news.detail/ID/eb4941204c49fc2d61bc41f1b80f2f5d

First found in 1967

From the first link, then not only feed piles, but mineral licks could be helping the spread.

But, if it's transmitted by feces, then raised platforms for food and mineral licks could minimize the spread.

I'm guessing that animals build up a resistance to it somehow, or Co. would be barren of cervids.


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Anything that concentrates deer probably has an effect.

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In sheep, resistance to the CWD related TSE, scrapies, is dependent on genotype - the US tests for RR, QR, QQ in conjunction with codon 171. Per

http://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org/_WMS/publications/wmj/issues/wmj_v101n8/Cross.pdf

similar studies are being conducted on the elk population although, as of 2002, they state no in depth studies have been conducted on the white-tail deer population. They also suggest that when the genotype most resistant to CWD is identified, a breeding program similarly used by sheep producers may be implemented.

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Originally Posted By: RAH
Or else you can do like me and only supply a mineral block, and/or plant a small food plot.


We have a 500,000 volt power line that crosses about a thousand feet of our property, and they are currently (no pun intended) rebuilding it. This power company, as opposed to the one that threatened us with eminent domain seizure for the last several years, has been extremely nice to everyone.

One of the conditions imposed on them is to put everything back to equal, or better, when they complete the job. They have agreed to plant a number of perennial food plots on my land. I forget the name of the product they will be using, but it will be a multi-seed hydro spray good for turkey and deer.

So far, they sure have put in a nice road, fencing and a gate, to help keep out trespassers. This is all industrial grade, like I could never afford. I've asked that the road and fencing stay.


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Glad to hear that things are working in your favor so far. I am a deer hunter, but love to watch them as well. I saw a deer, that I have been watching a couple years, at our pond as was very glad he made it through the hunting season. I must admit that if he reaches trophy size, I will try to take him. Next year he will be at least 3 1/2 years old.

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We have been feeding the deer corn for the 3 years we've owned the property. We also have mineral and salt licks out for them. We'll probably put in a food plot this year and will cut back on corn. It is legal in our case.

Thanks to all for the comments.


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I will not be as politically correct. Your neighbor is being an idiot he should be thanking you Rick. You are adding body mass and probably some antler inches and keepign more deer in the area due to your efforts. Corn is not ideal but dang awesome in the cooler months for the carbs. This means deer are in much better body condition. The deer instincevley will eat some browse for digestion. The privet back in your woods is just fine. Ask the guy what deer do in farm country with acres and acres of corn? Geexz the nerve of this guy.

Also I do not buy into the CWD scare. They prdicted it might kill all the deer even where it is detected less kills than blue tongue that took its tole on my KY property.

If you want to put some more inches of antler for him then fed deer food otherwsie do what your doing so you can enjoy watching em.


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There is a reason why deer hang out in the leftovers of the cornfields of the Midwest during the fall and winter.

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Ther QDMA Seminar that I attended at Otter Creek last year had Dr. Grant Woods as a keynote speaker. He said that deer instinctively crave carbs in the Fall/Winter, and corn fills that need.


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Corn doesn't hurt deer. The way it is applied "could" hurt them though. One of the things that can cause deer to get sick is from them sharing saliva so you need to make sure the corn gets spread like with a feeder. You should not put it in a pile on the ground or in a pig type trough. That's what I have been told anyway. You need to make sure it's spread out as much as possible.


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Yes there is some reservation about a pile. More important than CWD theory is formation of aflatoxin when it is piled up. Im published in Journal of Wildlife Diseases...we found low amounts of aflatoxin was found in 7 out of 60 bags I purcased around the state. WIth a pile one good rain and some heat will cause aflatoxin to explode. Rick is using a feeder so no worries.


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I wish Dan "The Man" VanSchaik would chime in. He knows a thing or two or three about deer.


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Wake up FarmerRick, your neighbor doesn't want you to draw deer from him with corn. Deer love corn (especially in winter) and they will choose it over almost anything except acorns.
Greg Grimes, you're right on the money...CWD is MUCH more of a political disease than biological. EHD/Blue Tongue kills many thousands more deer in a year than CWD does in a century. The Feds had to come up with a way to regulate interstate deer movement and CWD was their ticket. Deer cannot transmit EHD/BT to each other, so animal concentration has little to no impact. CWD, quasi-viral prions, could possibly be spread deer to deer by any of the body fluids; but is most commonly shed in feces. Given rarity of CWD in most regions, I wouldn't worry about it (unless your in an endemic hot zone).
Aflatoxins (molds) ARE the main threat to feeding any whole grains (including peanuts) to wildlife but you can stay clear of that by bying mycotoxin-tested & treated corn (commercially bagged; cleaned whole shelled corn).
I have cleaned a thousand deer in my career between hunting, harvest sampling & necropsy and they all had stomachs(rumens)jam-packed full of some type of forage. Gorging is part of being a selective browser (especially mature bucks).
I have several hundred captive whitetails under my care and they are all offered unlimited, free-choice deer chow with corn daily. In Texas we also feed wild deer free-choice corn & deer pellets in gravity feeders throughout large ranges, year-round. In past 19 years, haven't seen one eat himself to death yet.
Spin feeders set 0n 7-10 seconds twice daily are great for attracting deer.
By the way esshup, white-tailed deer experience "neophobia" when presented with any food that is previously unknown or unsampled. They are imprinted on what to eat the rest of their life in first 2 mos of life by the doe, then build associated microbial cultures for rumen fermentation process. When confronted with an unknown, they will avoid or just nibble at it to assess digestibility. You would be hard pressed to find a deer in N.A. that hasn't been exposed to corn at some point.
Feed the deer corn in cool/cold mos and enjoy them!

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Dan, Thanks. I learned something new today!


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Dan welcome to posting. We could sure use the wildlife help on here.
















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Originally Posted By: Dan Van Schaik
Spin feeders set 0n 7-10 seconds twice daily are great for attracting deer.


7 to 10 seconds isn't that a bit much? My spin feeder puts out a LOT of corn even at 5 seconds I had mine set this year at 3 twice a day. Not arguing here just want to know if there is a reason behind the time. Amount of deer your feeding? Or does that time frame seem to attract more deer? Would I have seen maybe more deer if I had my timer at 7 seconds instead of 3? Just wondering!

Thanks,


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It might depend on the type of feeder too. For instance, my AquaPro fish feeder will throw as much food in 3 seconds that a Texas Hunter feeder will throw in 20 to 30 seconds.


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