It’s no use if feed has a high protein content but deer won’t touch it – there are all too many of these feeds out there.
We have therefore selected the best deer protein feed that strikes the right balance between protein content and something that deer will love and keep coming back to.
Best Deer Protein (By Protein Content)
Monster Meal Protein Block – 24% Protein
Protein blocks aren’t necessarily everyone’s favorite form of deer feed, but the Monster Meal Protein Block certainly has its advantages.
It has a higher protein content at 24% than pretty much anything else out there. Due to its being a block feed it is also economical, as it is designed to be licked thereby lasting a long amount of time.
No feeder is required either. While feeders are generally recommended, depending on the number of the herd and purpose of the feed, a feeder isn’t always the best call for everyone. This makes it a good choice for people without and unwilling to get one.
The problem with feeder blocks tends to be that you can’t always count on deer hanging around long enough to lick and get all the protein and nutritive content they need. However, if the feed is tasty enough, they will stick around.
The Monster Meal Protein Block is one the very few blocks that manage to achieve this while also ensuring every lick becomes digestible.
The right ratio of calcium to phosphorus is present too – 2/2.5 – 1.
Purina Antler Advantage – 20% Protein
Purina is one of the largest and most recognized producers of dog and cat food in the USA. Perhaps not as well-known, however, is that they also supply feed for a range of other animals and livestock, including deer.
One of the best factors about Purina is that with a company of their size, you know that you are getting consistency from batch to batch.
Their Purina Antler Advantage deer protein feed, in the form of pellets, contains a whopping protein content of 20%. Considering that pellets are considered the most digestible form of feed, deer will certainly get all the protein they need. The calcium to phosphorus ratio is right on point too at 1.4-1.9% – 0.75%.
Made of high-quality ingredients the pellets have a consistent apple flavour and aroma to attract deer and keep them coming back for better feed intake.
Multiple protein sources are also used (more than any other brand in fact) that deliver a high concentration of amino acids for antler growth, to support reproductive performance, milk production, and milk quality – and overall to aid in developing strong, healthy and large deer.
The combination of the use of pellets, ability to attract deer, and several protein sources being used leads to excellent results.
If you’re specifically looking for the best protein pellets for deer antler growth, you’ve found it.
Monster Meal Deer Attractant – 19% Protein
Monster Meal’s Deer Attractant, featuring a formulated blend of grain products, contains 19% of protein.
As with all of the company’s feeds, deer can’t seem to get enough. This is down to Monster Meal only using ingredients that deer identify as food instead of added flavorings like other deer manufacturers in their attempt to cut costs.
It has a milder aroma than other feeds but still manages to act as a powerful, natural attractant. As a test you can put it out in areas where deer don’t necessarily venture to, and you will notice that they start appearing.
The feed also contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals to aid a well-balanced diet.
Monster Meal Feeder Pellets – 16% Protein
Another entry by Monster Meal on this list, but this time in pellet form.
Have you ever used protein feed, and even though the deer seemed to have no problem eating it up, you didn’t notice any visible changes? Thankfully there is no issue with the Monster Meal Feeder Pellets. You are sure to notice better antler growth with continued use.
This is down to the pellets having been designed to closely simulate natural browse to help with digestion and nutrient uptake. They are weather resistant too, ensuring that there is no waste or lost in effectiveness as the weather changes.
The pellets contain 16% of protein. While this may not be as much as other feeds on this list, keep in mind that pellets are the most digestible form of feed available.
Other important vitamins and minerals have been included too. This includes the right amount of calcium and phosphorus, which are invaluable for optimum antler and body growth.
Monster Meal managed to manufacture pellets that do a very good job of attracting deer and making sure they come back. They have a sweet apple aroma and taste that deer can’t seem to get enough of.
Big Tine 30-06 Protein Plus – 16% Protein
The name of this company’s deer feed doesn’t disappoint – it does exactly what it says on the tin.
Loaded with roasted soybeans, the Big Tine 30-06 Protein Plus contains all of the essential vitamins, minerals and Omega-3 fatty acids needed for maximum tine growth.
While an apple scent and flavor is commonly found in deer feed, this particular feed has a Cherry rush aroma and flavor that deer seem to love and can sense over long ranges. The addition of soybeans and corn also aids in a desirable taste.
This feed is also the only one of the market that fully utilizes Whitetail Institute’s 30-06 mineral/vitamin supplement (link) that is scientifically formulated to be easily digested & utilized by whitetail dee
A good thing about this protein feed for deer is that you can really buy it in bulk from Tractor Supply.
Important Features to Consider
A deer must obtain at the very least 6-7% of crude protein in their diet just for basic maintenance and survival. Reaching 10% is of course better and does some good but it still results in poor antler development, body condition and size.
16% of crude protein is generally the agreed upon percentage that maximizes antler growth- but there are other aspects to consider too. These include age and physiological activity along with other things that are more difficult to measure such as genetics, environment, disease, and parasite challenges.
As age and physiological activity of deer can be measured, it’s important to understand how protein requirements of deer may differ, so you can tailor a feeding program to get the best results.
Refer to the following table to see how protein requirements of deer may differ according to these metrics.
Furthermore, feed containing 18-20% protein can often help balance intake that is lower in other portions of a deer’s diet.
Other Nutrients and Minerals Content
Supplemental feeding of deer isn’t just all about protein. There are other important minerals and nutrients to consider – namely calcium and phosphorus. Trace minerals are also important, but deer naturally get sufficient amounts through natural forage.
Past studies have shown that 0.64% calcium and 0.56% phosphorus are required for optimum antler and body growth. Greater amounts aren’t any more beneficial and may even be detrimental.
Therefore, even if you are buying feed for its protein content the best high protein deer feed will still contain the right amount of calcium and phosphorus too. Ratio is also important. The ratio of calcium-phosphorus should range from one to one or two to one with the latter being optimal. All feeds recommended on this page contain the right amounts.
Regardless of the age of the deer, supplementing with protein is paramount. It results in increased body weight and condition, fawn production and antler growth.
More specifically, feeding bucks allow them to regain weight lost due to increased activity and decreased food intake during the rut and winter. They can lose up to 30% of their bodyweight during this time. This results in better antler growth and reproduction.
Just like bucks, does need to regain lost weight and condition, which is critical for reproductive success to produce heavier and a greater number of fawns. This is important to lessen the likelihood of fawn mortality within the first week of life. Fawns also require an adequate amount of protein to support growth and body size to survive winter.
Different Types of Feed – Pellets vs Block vs Mixes
Pellets: Designed to be used with feeders and as digestible as possible, pellets are a very good way for deer to get the all-important protein they need into their blood and body. Very little waste of pellets can be found in deer feces. Deer like protein pellets very much
Block: Blocks do not require a feeder (although one can be used) and are simple to set up. Just place the block in areas frequented by deer, adding small amounts of corn, apples or carrots around the block to attract deer.
As they are designed to be licked, they can be the long lasting and therefore economical choice. However, you cannot always count on deer to stand around long enough to lick a block and get all the protein and supplemental minerals they need.
Mix: The effectiveness of mixes can be somewhat erratic, as it depends on the mineral content of the soil, quality of the vegetation on the range, and so forth. Some deer have also been found to return and continue to lick the soil once the mix has disappeared.
Supplementing a deer’s diet with protein can be important all year round. It ensures that deer at different stages and conditions will be in optimal health, supporting antler growth and reproduction without having to play catchup. It helps to maintain the health of the entire This can be expensive, though.
Don’t think you must maintain the same level of protein all year round, though. Deer do not require as much protein in the winter as they do in the spring and summer.
Feeding deer can no doubt be expensive. It may surprise you to learn just how much deer feed some people buy and the amount they spend in a year. It’s not unheard of to hear figures into the tens of thousands of dollars, and tons upon tons of feed depending on the size of the land and herd, and purpose for feeding.
You may not get anywhere close to these amounts but buying in bulk still allows for savings to be made. is Take advantage of economies of scale to bring the price down. Some like to come up with their own deer protein feed recipes too.
Why feed deer protein over corn?
Corn feed tends to be cheap and deer love it, it acts as a great attractant. So why not just buy corn feed and call it a day?
Unfortunately, it is low in overall nutritive value, especially in protein – containing 7-8% crude. This is less than what a deer’s body requires for daily maintenance. It is great for energy and heat production due to its high starch and carbohydrate content, though, making it particularly useful in winter.
Protein, as mentioned earlier for several reasons, is an absolute must for deer.
What are the best months to feed deer?
Does feeding deer protein actually work?
Feeding deer protein absolutely works.
In one study, a group of fawns was feed a low protein diet of 8%; the other a high protein diet of 16%. Just take a look at the image to see the difference in antler growth.
In another study, deer fed 16% protein gained 108 pounds the first year; deer fed 13% gained 100 pounds; deer fed 9.5% gained 50 pounds; and deer fed 4.5% gained 25 pounds. Furthermore, deer fed 16% had antlers 12-15 inches in main beam length with six to eight points; deer fed 4.5% had little to no antler growth.
Study after study shows just how important protein – this includes protein from feed – is for deer.
How can I be sure deer will eat the feed?
While you can never be sure until you put the feed out and see how the deer respond, there are a couple of things that will maximize the chances.
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article it’s no good if a feed has a high protein content, but deer won’t touch it. This is why it’s only recommended to purchase deer feed that has a proven track record. Buy from reputable manufacturers whose feed has many positive reviews. You’ll find deer not eating protein pellets, blocks, and mixes will become a thing of past.
What is the best way to feed deer the protein feed?
Whether you’re using a homemade deer protein feed or bought from the store, you need to make sure that it is tasty and high quality that deer will keep coming back to. Then, if you’re using pellets, be sure to use a deer feeder.
Feeders come in free choice, trough style, and electric versions, so you can regulate how much and often deer can eat the feed. Free choice feeds, which don’t limit how much and how often deer can eat, is generally the preferred option. However, deer can go through a lot of feed, so the choice tends to come down to budget.
Also make sure your feeder location provides access to water, is clearly visible, has easy escape routes near cover, and has a good amount of deer traffic. The same applies to feed blocks and mixes.