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Do deer eat kale? A bed of delicious kale is one of the easiest vegetables you can grow, but, as with all vegetables, there is always the worry that deer may take a liking to your crop. But do deer like kale, or is your kale harvest safe from these beautiful garden visitors?

Do Deer Eat Kale?

Do deer eat this beautiful vegetable, the humble kale?
Do deer eat this beautiful vegetable, the humble kale?

Vegetable gardeners love kale! It is super easy to grow and gives plentiful harvests of nutritious leafy greens. But if you have local deer that like to visit your garden, are they going to tuck into your precious patch of carefully nurtured kale?

Deer can and will eat kale plants, but kale is not high on their list of favorite food sources.

They will shun kale in favor of tastier plants, but a hungry deer can and will eat these leafy green vegetables.

The other problem caused by deer is that they may trample your kale plants in search of their favorite foods. So, if you want to guarantee a good harvest of kale, it is a sensible idea to protect the plants from visiting deer.

What Kind of Kale Do Deer Eat?

These young, tender kale seedlings would be on a deer's menu!
These young, tender kale seedlings would be on a deer’s menu!

Deer will eat all kinds of kale, but, as with most plants, they prefer the young, tender leaves over older, tougher growth.

Kale is such a nutritious food source for deer that it is often grown as part of a food plot for wild deer. It is a hardy vegetable that grows well through the colder winter months, providing a valuable source of protein and roughage for hungry deer.

The plants grow an abundance of large leaves, maximizing the amount of food available on even the smallest food plots for deer.

Will Deer Eat Kale Stems?

Deer can and will eat kale stems, but if given the choice they will stick to eating the tender leaves. If the stem is left uneaten, a kale plant will quickly regrow new leaves after being eaten by deer.

If deer visit your garden, they may also accidentally trample on kale plants and snap the stems. If this occurs, your kale plants may well send out a new shoot from the side of the stem, so it is worth leaving them in the ground to see if they recover.

What Is Eating My Kale at Night?

Large white cabbage butterfly caterpillar on a kale leaf
Large white cabbage butterfly caterpillar on a kale leaf

Sadly, it isn’t only deer that will eat your kale – this nutritious vegetable is a favorite food source for many of your garden visitors! Some of the primary pests that eat kale are so small that you may not even notice them at first.

Slugs and snails will happily nibble on young, tender kale plants, and can destroy a row of seedlings overnight.

If your plants survive the onslaught of these slimy pests, then hungry caterpillars are next in line for an all-you-can-eat kale buffet. One of the main culprits is the caterpillars of the prolific Cabbage White butterfly.

If you can’t see any slugs, snails, or caterpillars, it may be that something smaller such as cabbage aphids is eating your kale. On the flip side, it could be a much larger garden visitor who is popping by to munch on your kale in the darkness of night.

What Animals Eat Kale Plants?

Although not their favorite vegetable, deer will snack on your kale plants
Although not their favorite vegetable, deer will snack on your kale plants

It is not only humans that enjoy kale – many animals will also eat kale plants! If you have deer that visit your garden, they will likely take a nibble of your kale as they pass through.

If animals are eating your kale plants, then deer must be high up on the list of suspects. However, rabbits, rats, opossums, groundhogs, and chickens will also happily eat kale.

Deer and Kale FAQ

Do Squirrels Eat Kale?

Squirrels may be adorable, but they can be regarded as a pest if they discover the delights of your vegetable garden! Squirrels do eat kale, and this leafy green vegetable is a nutritious food source for squirrels throughout late summer and fall.

What Is a Deer’s Favorite Vegetable?

Deer have interesting tastes in food and can and will eat many vegetables that other animals tend to shun!
Because they have such varied appetites, it is impossible to say what their favorite food is. They seem to particularly like anything tender, juicy, and green, such as beans, broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce.

Are there any vegetable plants that deer will not eat?

Deer will avoid eating anything with leaves that are spiky or prickly, such as cucumbers, eggplant, or zucchini with fuzzy foliage. They also steer clear of root vegetables, as they find them difficult to dig up.
However, if deer are hungry enough, they will eat any of the vegetables mentioned above! A hungry deer will have the determination to access any potential food source, no matter how difficult or unpalatable it may be.

Do deer eat potatoes?

Deer do not like potatoes, and will not normally bother digging them up for consumption. They also tend to stay away from the foliage of potato plants, as it contains a toxin that deer avoid eating.

Do deer eat carrots?

If you were to offer a deer some carrot sticks, they would most likely snap them up! Deer enjoy eating carrots, which are a good source of energy and fiber for these beautiful animals.
Luckily, deer will not normally bother with carrots growing in the ground, as they struggle to dig them up. They may take a nibble of the leaves of carrots, but the edible roots should remain safely in the ground.

Does deer eat celery?

Deer can and will eat celery, and some deer will develop a taste for this crunchy vegetable. So, if you are growing celery in your vegetable plot, it is a good idea to protect it from visiting deer.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article about whether deer eat kale! Thanks for reading!

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