do deer eat bird suet

You might wonder just what sick deer and Chickadees have in common. The answer isnt obvious unless you live in the country where deer gather under bird feeders.

Both will feed on sunflower seeds. That presents a dilemma for some people who like to feed birds.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources director Becky Humphries signed an emergency order last week calling for a ban on deer and elk baiting and feeding in the Lower Peninsula.That goes for bird feeding, too — if deer are drawn to the scratched seeds on the ground. The ban was put in place to slow any potential for spread of chronic wasting disease, which was found in one captive-bred deer on a Kent County deer farm.

So far, no wild, free-ranging deer are known to have it. State officials are hopeful that it is a one-deer case.

But they also know baiting and animal feeding can accelerate its spread, should it somehow be found outside the enclosure where the sick deer was euthanized.

Deer that gather to feed, breathe on food and defecate where they are eating. Other deer come in contact with that food.

“People are calling in about what they can put in bird feeders,” said Sara Schaefer, the DNRs southwest Michigan wildlife supervisor. “We are recommending that they use bird seed or suet that does not attract deer.

“Finch food is not so much an issue as shelled corn or sunflower seeds, which are popular with deer. They will come in and clean up around the feeders.”

In all cases, it will be up to the conservation officer to determine whether a landowner is complying with the ban and whether the circumstances warrant action.

The line is reasonably clear. If it attracts deer and they feed there, its a problem.

In the heart of Grand Rapids, where I live and keep five bird feeders, I dont see any deer. No elk. No moose. I know as I say this, I will wake up tomorrow and find a huge buck staring in my living room window.

I do get an occasional skunk, possum, rabbit and stray cat in my yard. But they would rather rifle trash bags than raid feeder droppings.

But friends in the suburbs speak regularly of seeing deer. Feeders in their backyards could well be a problem.

These and other questions about chronic wasting disease will be the focus of a town meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the West Walker Sportsmans Club, 0-599 Leonard St. NW. The public is invited to attend.

Representatives from the DNR the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Michigan Department of Community Health will speak about what is being done to manage CWD and any potential risks to humans, animals and wild deer. It will be an opportunity for the public to ask questions.

“Theres a lot of misinformation out there,” Schaefer said. “They are getting it from online chat rooms, and from neighbors spreading information that changes by the 10th telling.

“People think the sick deer was wild, which it wasnt, or that it was in a totally different county, or that you can get sick if you touch a deer with CWD,” Schaefer said.

Disease poses no risk to humans State officials say there is no risk to humans from the disease, but that doesnt stop people from talking.

“We are getting calls from people saying I know its banned, but can we do this or that, trying to get around the rule,” Schaefer said.

There are even those who call and ask if a Lower Peninsula “ban on baiting” means they cant bait.

The ban that went into place last week prohibits putting out salt blocks, minerals, grains, seeds, hay, vegetables and other food that will attract deer. It allows for hunting food plots or over food scattered naturally as part of normal agricultural practices.

The intent is not to stop Mrs. Smith from feeding Chickadees, Schaefer said, but to stop her from doing anything that will attract deer in to feed.

Bear baiting also is limited to foods that deer dont eat. Donut piles are still OK. Jelly donuts, French crullers, even Oreos. Deer, Im told, dont have a sweet tooth.

Schaefer claimed, “People believe the sick deer was wild, which it wasn’t, or that it was in a completely different county, or that touching a deer with CWD can make you sick.”

“Sunflower seeds and shelled corn are more problematic for deer than finch food.” They will come in and clean up around the feeders. “.

The conservation officer will always have the final say on whether a landowner is abiding by the ban and whether the situation calls for taking legal action.

The line is reasonably clear. If deer are drawn to it and feed there, there is an issue.

There will be a town hall meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to discuss these and other issues related to chronic wasting disease. m. Tuesday at the West Walker Sportsmans Club, 0-599 Leonard St. NW. The public is invited to attend.

Enter suet. Our family had been feeding birds through the winter for a long time, so we were very familiar with the blocks of rendered fat that were filled with seeds and sold at hardware, pet, and wild bird stores. In addition to keeping the birds resilient and requiring less maintenance than a traditional feeder, they also provide a special opportunity to witness an absolutely delightful interaction between wild birds and their food.

We like to put bird treats in trees that are visible from every window in our home. They serve both the birds and us equally. These snacks are a means of providing warmth and comfort to the small wildlife during the upcoming long and frigid winter. It’s a fulfilling and straightforward kind of entertainment that is very beneficial to the soul.

It’s not something you would normally keep after butchering a deer. Frequently, it is chopped off, thrown in the trash, or “left for the birds.” But it’s important to know that the waxy fat melts smoothly and solidifies as it cools, which makes it ideal for a few unusual uses.

A few cups of birdseed, a sizable pot or roaster with a lid, a pile of hardened deer fat, and a mold are needed to make suet. Anything from a cupcake tray to a bread pan lined with parchment paper or an old milk carton can be used as the mold. Anything that can contain liquid will work, although more visually appealing forms make for a better display.

When I was a young man, my father instilled in me the importance of making the most of a harvest, which included saving the fat and finding inventive uses for it. Although there weren’t many options, we were all in favor of using the fat in goods that we weren’t personally required to eat.

FAQ

What is eating my bird suet at night?

Any night critter i.e. raccoons, flying squirrels, etc will be able to get at the suet if it is against a tree trunk or something they can cling to. Your best bet would be to get some pepper suet. The birds absolutely love it and the mammals can’t handle it.

What animals are attracted to suet?

Suet is particularly attractive to woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, jays, and starlings. Wrens, creepers, kinglets, and even cardinals and some warblers occasionally visit suet feeders. Animal fat is easily digested and metabolized by many birds; it’s a high-energy food, especially valuable in cold weather.

Is it OK for deer to eat birdseed?

Poor nutritional condition in mule deer is caused by disruptions to their highly specialized digestive system. Specifically, human introduced foods like bird seed, alfalfa cubes, deer blocks and livestock feed can disrupt the delicate balance of their stomach microbiome.

Will deer eat suet cakes in the winter?

In the wild, deer graze on berries, corn and sunflower seeds— to name a few. If you have a traditional bird feeder mix, try swapping them for a food source birds love but deer don’t, such as thistle seeds or suet cakes.