Can Deer Eat Turnips? (And Do They Like Them?)

Dear love eating turnips. They can eat every part of a turnip plant including the leafy tops and the tap roots.

Deer love turnips because of their sweet sugary taste that is mostly found in the leaves of developed turnips. They prefer older leaves because older leaves have converted more starch into sugars.

Turnips also provide some nutritional value for deer. Turnips contain a lot of protein and carbohydrates. Deer love to feed on turnips especially when food is scarce.

Although turnips are not deer’s number one preferred food. When given a choice between other foods like acorn and apples deer will pick the latter over turnips.

Can Deer Eat Turnips

Where can Deer Eat Turnips?

Turnips are rare in the wild, so the main place deer find them is on farms, where turnips are often grown as a cover crop due to their ability to grow in poor soil.

Turnips can also survive in almost any soil. They are well-adapted to be able to access nutrients even in the poorest soil. They are also easy to grow and require relatively little human intervention from the farmer.

Related: Are deer herbivores?

What are the Health Benefits of Turnips to Deer?

Turnips are healthy for deer because they are a source of fiber, nitrates, protein, calcium, and iron, which can be difficult to find just from grass.

First of all, turnips contain about 2.3 grams of fibre per every 130 grams off raw turnips. Fibre is especially helpful in the digestion of food. It helps reduce pressure and inflammation in the colon. It also aids in the passing of waste material from the body.

Turnips also contain a high number of nitrates. These are especially important in reducing blood pressure. Turnips are also a source of potassium which helps in lowering blood pressure by releasing sodium from the body.

Turnips also have high protein content. Their protein content ranges from between 15 to 20% off the plants weight and is contained in both the leaves and the roots of the plant.

They also contain other nutrients and minerals like calcium which is great for bones, iron which is great for the manufacture of blood, sodium, zinc and magnesium. Turnips also contain vitamins like vitamin K and vitamin C.

Related Article: How much Meat can you get from a Deer?

Is Excess Turnip Consumption Harmful to Deer?

Turnips have various health benefits to deer. There are no known health downsides from excessive consumption of turnips 

Turnips contain various nutrients and minerals that are beneficial to deer. They have high protein levels which is especially helpful in the growth and development of the deer.

Turnips also contain important nutrients like calcium. Calcium is important in the growth of antlers in deer. This is because antlers are made of bone and calcium is important in the growth and development of bones. 

Turnips also contain minerals like magnesium, potassium and sodium, together with vitamins like vitamin K and vitamin C.

Does Turnip Attract Deer?

Deer are opportunistic foragers, and may be attracted to the leafy green tops and nutritious roots of turnip if they spot them or smell them in the wild.

Deer may be especially drawn to turnip during the winter, as it’s one of the few plants that can grow through year-roud.

To combat excessive crop loss due to deer, farmers may choose to erect a deer fence around their property.

Deer fences are usually made from tall timber posts and a wire mesh with a small aperture, to prevent deer from being able to jump over the fence or try to get through it.

Can Deer Survive on a Diet of Turnips Alone?

Deer could survive on a diet of turnips alone for a long time. This is because turnips contain almost all the nutrients that are needed for the growth and development of the animal.

As stated in the previous subtopics, turnips have various nutrients. This include proteins minerals and vitamins. Turnips also contain a small amount of carbohydrates which is essential in providing energy for the deer.

It is however important to note that dear do not take turnips as their primary source of food. Deer are browsers meaning that they feed on twigs leaves and stems of other plants.

When given a choice between turnips and other foods like acorns and apples, deer would prefer the latter.

Deer mostly resort to feeding on turnips during winter. This is because of the scarcity of food. Turnips are able to grow during any season including winter.

They are also able to grow on virtually any kind of soil despite its nutritional content. This makes turnips a good source of food during winter when food is scarce.


Deer do like to eat turnips. Furthermore, turnips can be good for deer, unlike foods like corn, which can hurt their stomachs. Turnips are full of proteins and sugars that both help with deer health and make turnips delicious for deer.

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