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There are several reasons why you may ask, do deer eat peanuts? Perhaps you are a peanut farmer worried about your crops. Well, It is no secret that deer love to eat leaves; they are also known to eat berries, especially in the summer months. However, that is not all they eat. 

Deer do eat peanuts. They do not typically seek out peanuts (since they’re below-ground), but they will eat them while they eat the leaves of the bush that peanuts grow on. Deer might also eat peanuts off the ground, whether they are in their shell or not. Finally, hunters sometimes use peanut butter to lure deer.

Seeing the occasional deer can be beautiful. However, if you are a peanut farmer, this can be a little bit of a nightmare and can become frustrating when you do not know how to keep the deer away from your peanut plants. I will advise you on all your deer and peanut questions in this article. 

Do Deer Eat Peanut Plants?

fresh peanuts plants with roots.
Peanuts plants with roots

Peanut plants, or bushes, have large leaves with a wealth of nutrients for animals and deer. So, the answer is yes, deer do eat peanut plants. In fact, they go crazy for peanut plants and will eat almost any part of it, including: 

  • The plant’s seeds (peanuts). 
  • Its vines and stems. 
  • And finally, its leaves. 

This can be frustrating for people who grow peanut plants, especially if you grow peanuts on a farm or in an area with lots of deer. 

Do Deer Eat Peanuts In the Shell?

Deer love peanuts in the shell!
Deer love peanuts in the shell!

Peanut shells can be hard to chew for us, and they do not taste all that great. With that said, what about deer? Do they eat peanuts in the shell?

Trust me; deer don’t mind peanuts in the shell or peanuts out of the shell. The deer will eat the whole thing with its strong teeth and powerful jaw. 

What About Peanut Butter?

If deer like peanuts, it shouldn’t be any different with peanut butter, right? Well, hunters typically use peanut butter as bait to lure deer into specific areas.

Peanut butter is also used on electric deer fences. A small amount of peanut butter is attached to the fence to encourage the deer to touch it with their nose. It’s almost the only place in their body where an electric fence is efficient.

Do Deer Eat Peanut Hay?

Peanut hay is highly nutritious, with plenty of protein. It is made from leftover residue that is left behind from harvesting the nuts. So, it makes sense that deer eat peanut hay, especially since they are not fussy with their nuts. 

Is It Okay to Feed Deer Peanuts?

With all this talk of deer loving peanuts, is it okay to give them peanuts? Well, peanuts are good for deer as they are nutritious, tasty, and not poisonous. Remember, deer eat grass, leaves, stems, and vines, so adding peanuts to their diet does not seem that crazy.

However, supplemental deer feeding is generally not recommended. Check out this great guide as to the reasons why.

Let’s take a look at some of the nutritional value that peanuts add to a deer’s diet:

  • Fat
  • Vitamin B6
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Protein
  • Calcium
Recommended nutrient levels in deer diets
Recommended nutrient levels in deer diets via Texas Park and Wildlife Department

Growing Peanuts for Deer In Food Plots: 5 Things To Consider

In this section, I assume you have a large piece of land or are already a farmer. Remember, a food plot requires a lot of space. So, instead of giving you guidelines on creating a food plot, I want to discuss a few things you need to consider if you want to use peanuts in your food plot.

  • A peanut food plot is an excellent way to keep deer fed.
  • However, peanuts require a significant upfront cost. 
  • There are cheaper alternatives, such as clover.
  • Peanut food plots require a lot of attention.
  • The soil conditions need to be almost perfect for peanuts.

If you are up for a significant challenge and want the best food plot for deer, then yes, use peanuts, but it is not the easiest or the most economical option.

How to Protect Peanut Plants from Deer

Peanut growth stages
Peanut growth stages

Talking about how nutritious peanuts are for deer and how much they enjoy them is great. It is also crucial to remember that some people are trying to protect their plants from deer. There are very easy methods. Other methods require a little bit more effort.

The surest way to protect your peanut plants from deer is to build a fence around the peanut plants. A complete cover with netting (far enough to stop them nibbling through the net) and a cage works, too.

Some people use noise deterrents such as wind chimes. You can also use a motion-activated sprinkler or lights. Take a look at our article on the best deer repellent plants and herbs – using those can deter deer from coming close to your peanut plants.

Verdict: Are Peanuts Deer Resistant? 

No, peanuts are not deer resistant. If you fail to protect your peanut plants and the deer come onto your property, trust me, they will not just eat peanuts but most of the plant. Remember, peanuts, as well as other nuts, are some of a deer’s favorite snack!

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