Outside the box thinking, how to deal with deer in the food forest.

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by Pakanohida, Sep 13, 2015.

  1. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Maybe I should allow them in the food forest belt? What would I plant for them? Why should I or should I not do this? Discuss! (and keep on subject please)
     
  2. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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    In my locale the deer eat most baby trees, and stags kill slightly larger trees by rubbing their antlers on them. So I would definitely not include deer until the food forest is quite mature, if ever!
     
  3. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    On the other side of the coin, we let the deer in but protect young trees/shrubs with wire fence cylinders held up with two T-posts. Our "forest" area is based on 7 old fruit trees that have been significantly added to with 27 different families of trees/shrubs/vines/forbes. individual fencing keeps them from browsing saplings to death and trashing them with their velvety antlers. Our understory is a profusion of "weeds" and selected plantings which keeps them busy/fed and gives them a safe place to bed down during the hot days (remember this is hot/dry climate and our trees are the only ones for miles). Deer can be very destructive though, so I'd make sure you've protected your investments.
     
  4. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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    Maybe have some plantings for you, which are protected, and some for the deer, which are only protected when very young, or protected periodically so they can grow back between browsings? This seems more like management for deer than a food forest for people, though. Although maybe your deer aren't as aggressive as ours - we have two kinds, the native White-tails and the exotic Axis. Both come right up around the house, even during the daytime, though the Axis are more shy than the White-tails. It is difficult to grow anything with all this browsing pressure.
     
  5. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    We put in feed plots for the deer and we fenced in our orchard and garden. The deer seem to be focused on the feed plots which have; oats, rape, white and crimson clover, alfalfa, soybean, winter peas and grain sorghum as the current plantings. Some folks around here also add corn to their feed plots. We also have some persimmon trees that are between the feed plots and some dedicated bedding areas. Now that we have added the Guinea Hogs in paddocks, the deer seem to be staying down the north slope more, where the feed plots and bedding areas are located.

    We protect the small trees we want to remain by doing as 9anda1f does, making circle fences so the deer can't get to those trees.

    You may have to resort to some electric fencing if other measures don't do the job.
     
  6. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Hmm, you are giving me an idea for something opposite a fedge, but more like a corridor that deer can walk through till they hit the private road, which can double as moveable pasture eventually, and possibly triple as a stroll garden on the sides that shower food into the food corridor.
     
  7. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Geoff Lawton suggested I use electric fencing. I have NO experience in this at all and I am sort of an electrical anti-person; ie., I blow motherboards while all possible grounding procedures are taken if you follow my drift.

    Much to meditate on.
     
  8. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    Electric fence is fairly fool proof, biggest issue is to not have any plant material touch the hot wire(s) since that grounds the wire and stops current flow. We are looking at a new, solar powered charger since we don't have power at the hog paddocks yet. The only problem with going solar is initial cost is pretty high compared to hard wired chargers. We use two low wires and one high wire, that keeps critters from going under as well as going over the fence.

    If you do some corridors you will know where the deer are at most times, works very well. I placed most of our feed plots just off the natural deer paths on our land. The bedding areas are also nearby the deer paths and so far they seem to like my arrangement for their uses. We do occasionally see tracks but they are from single deer doing a check out of what we are doing on the land. When I hunt one for meat, I make sure to take it away from both the food plots and the bedding areas, that way the deer see these as "safe" areas.
     
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  9. Unmutual

    Unmutual Junior Member

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    The only thing you get with feeding animals is more animals. A good source of food tells us(animals) to reproduce. It's the same with humans(which is probably why we'll never get rid of human starvation). Hunger and death of the weak is nature's way of putting the population below carrying capacity again. Cruel, I know.

    I hear double fences(non-electric) that are close together(think parallel lines ||..if I'm not mistaken Toby Hemenway talks about it in Gaia's Garden) will mess with deer since they like a running jump and not a sideways jump. Maybe two rings of food hedge with the outer ring being stuff that deer don't like.
     
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  10. Geoff Lawton

    Geoff Lawton Administrator Staff Member

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    Wide white electric fence tape and a good solar charger, then peanut butter spread on the tap every 10 to 20 meters once a week works a treat and its cheap, deer shocked on the tongue do not come back.
     
  11. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    Thank you Geoff, I told our neighbor of this idea and he confirms, once a deer gets that jolt, they never come back. His homestead is more field oriented than ours so for him that was a godsend. It is curious that deer seem to want to stay in the area I designated for their use now that we have hogs, they apparently don't like to mingle with them.
     
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  12. 2Boys1Homestead

    2Boys1Homestead New Member

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    The peanut butter fence is a great idea! I may have to employ that with our tiny, new food forest this year.
     
  13. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Deer, when fat and the carcass is aged and marinated the correct way can prove to be very tasty. Venison jerky is another good one, when previously marinated in the fridge for a week in a dry red wine, garlic, pepper, soy sauce and honey mix. Do you have laws which prevent you from harvesting the excess of these deer each autumn? Cull a few each season and the others will be more wary and treat your food sources with more respect. As a less carnivorous treatment, spray the plants that you want protected with a mix of vegetable oil and eggs every month or so will keep the deer away unless they are starving. Here they are a declared feral animal with no hunting season. They are a bastard for spreading declared weeds, cattle tick, destroying fences and muddying water sources when they wallow. They jump over ordinary vertical 150 cm electric fences unless set at an angle with multiple wires to over 180 cm high. Good luck!
     
  14. Adamdam

    Adamdam New Member

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    hi,
    i saw this done in africa, if you have some cow,goat,sheep manure, you can
    diluteit in water and spray the trees, no grazing animal will eat the tree. about the portions: i am not sure...but its sepouse to be
    disgusting enough...

    good luck.
     
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  15. Melissa Hoffman

    Melissa Hoffman New Member

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    We have a 9 year old food forest in cold temperate Vermont , northeastern USA and we live amidst lots of deer surrounded by wild forest and fields. Once the trees get above browse height, it's not a problem, but initially we had to coat trees with rotten egg mixture to prevent grazing of the young buds when other foods were scarce.. This occurs mostly in the spring when there's little other food to eat. We also cut young hardwood trees in the fall and pile them on the ground as wind breaks, and the deer forage on the twigs instead, and leave their droppings. This can be done strategically near water features to capture nutrients. We also find that they LOVE jerusalem artichoke greens, and so we plant them around the trails they use to act as a trap crop. They also love vetch and will graze it the fall, keeping away from the trees, and we leave our comfrey uncut at the end of the season, as the deer come in and eat and poop.
     
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  16. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    I designated about 2 acres for feeding wildlife, especially the deer. Our Game and Fish department even has specialist that helped tremendously with setting up the area so it provides good nutrition year round. We have not had any deer be a problem ever since I started this area, it has both feeding spaces and bedding spaces. The only thing I didn't provide them with was a source of water since that would attract cotton mouth and copper head snakes to our land. Those, I don't want to encourage coming.
     
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  17. Flatland

    Flatland Member

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    Neighbour ran one line of electric tape about 3 foot off the ground around his veggie garden and the deer respected it
    The deer stayed out of my veggie garden because it was full of weeds so the deer didn't know there were veggies in there. I think this worked well because next door had a huge totally weeded veggie garden so the deer went there for lunch instead of having to hunt around in my pile of weeds
     
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  18. Brian D Smith

    Brian D Smith New Member

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    Another type of fencing that works is a 6 ft wire fence with a T-top holding a wire 19" to 24" in front of the fence ling. This confuses the depth perception of the deer and they won't jump the fence.
     

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