According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, "Deer need a daily diet of 12 to 16 percent protein for optimum development of bone and muscle." As a result, many sources note that deer protein feed be categorized as a 16-17 percent plus dietary protein source. It is simply a way to supplement natural forage, especially for herds that might be lacking the necessary nutrients for growth.

Now, it's wildly debated that deer cannot digest this amount of daily protein, however this is untrue. Deer can digest up to 20 percent protein during certain times of the year with no harm to their health or antler growth. Additionally, it is important to note that as deer get older they require less protein than young bucks.

How Should I Distribute High Protein Deer Feed?

To properly distribute high protein deer feed, we've summarized a few options with some additional tips from the TPWD:

1. By Hand

2. Automatic Timer-Controlled Feeders

3. Free Choice

4. Creep-Type Feeders (Highly Recommended)

A pellet 3/16 inch in size is best for deer feeders to eliminate the jamming of the feeder mechanism.

High Protein Deer Feeders

What Is A Good Source Of Protein For Deer?

North American Whitetail notes that the best natural sources of protein for deer is peas, beans or lab-lab. Each of these can provide up to 35 percent protein during Summer months. 

Aside from this, while there are specifically designated feed solutions that contain higher concentrations of protein, it's important to note that deer attractants are not always great sources of this nutrient. Don't get me wrong, some do contain vital minerals and nutrients, but many are just sugar and salt based with little benefit to the deer's overall health. 

Does Protein Feed Help Deer?

According to Spring Creek Outdoors, supplement deer protein feed does help. 

As noted in their main article, "Seasonal cycles, weather patterns and man-made disturbances can cause the nutritional value and availability of native deer foods to be unpredictable..." 

Because of this, it's important for hunters to step in and maintain a constant supply of supplement to aid in a deer's body and antler growth. Of course, providing consistency and high quality deer protein will not only eliminate poor results, but bring about better chances of more gains.

What Do You Put In A Deer Protein Feeder?

Deer protein feed by itself will not give optimal results. To accomplish peak antler growth this supplement... unfortunately, needs to have some sort of complement. 

Many studies showcase that deer protein feed should also include a healthy amount of calcium and phosphorus to aid in this nutritional combination. However, hunters should remember not to exceed recommended levels for these two areas as it could prove to be harmful for the deer. 

Deer Protein Feed

When Should I Start Putting Out Protein Feed For Deer?

It is highly recommend that hunters distribute high protein feed during antler growth time periods, especially if bucks are consuming a low percentage of digestible protein. By having this nutritional supplement available, they can combat lacking resources in key sections of needed growth. Furthermore, having this feed available to young bucks, before the ages of 5-6 allows them to excel before full maturity. Now, you can utilize protein feed year around but it might not be the best use of resources, especially if you have a finite budget. 

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