Does Deer Eat Rhubarb? A Comprehensive Guide

Yes, deer do eat rhubarb. Rhubarb is an edible herbaceous perennial plant that is often used in cooking and baking, but it is also a favorite food of deer.

Rhubarb leaves contain a high concentration of oxalic acid, which can be toxic to humans and animals if consumed in large quantities. However, deer have a digestive system that is capable of breaking down the oxalic acid in the leaves, allowing them to consume it without any harmful effects. Deer are known for their ability to adapt to different environments and food sources, making them natural foragers. This article will provide more information about deer and their eating habits, as well as tips for protecting rhubarb plants from deer damage.

Does Deer Eat Rhubarb? A Comprehensive Guide


Understanding Deer Diets

Deer are herbivores that graze on a variety of plants, grasses, and shrubs. Their diets change depending on the season, food availability, and weather conditions. Rhubarb, a vegetable with large leaves and a sour taste, generally isn’t a top choice for deer, but they may eat it if there aren’t many other options.

Deer tend to prefer nutrient-dense plants, such as clover and alfalfa, in addition to other grasses and forbs. Factors that influence deer’s food choices include location, availability, plant quality, and the deer’s nutritional needs. Understanding deer diets is important for farmers and gardeners to manage their crops and protect them from deer damage.

What Is Rhubarb?

Rhubarb is a plant that belongs to the family of buckwheat. Its stems are mostly consumed, as they are edible, but leaves are poisonous. Rhubarb varies in color, ranging from pink to dark red to pale green. Rhubarb is recognized for its low-calorie and high-nutrient content; it is a great source of vitamin k, calcium, and potassium.

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There are two primary rhubarb types that people use for culinary purposes: hothouse and field-grown rhubarb. Both types require distinct farming techniques, and hothouse rhubarbs seem to have a milder flavor than field-grown. Deer do not eat rhubarb as it is toxic to them.

What animals eat rhubarb stalks?

Rhubarb And Deer Interaction

Deer are attracted to rhubarb for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the plant’s leaves and stems are high in moisture content, making them a desirable source of hydration for deer. Additionally, the bright red color of the stalks can easily catch a deer’s eye, drawing them towards the plant.

The consumption of rhubarb by deer can have negative effects on the plant’s health, including stunted growth and reduced yield. Signs that a deer has eaten rhubarb may include partially eaten stalks and leaves, as well as hoof prints and other evidence of deer activity in the surrounding area.

Overall, it is important for gardeners and farmers to take precautions to deter deer from eating their rhubarb crops.

Prevention Measures

To prevent deer from munching on your rhubarb, there are two methods: chemical and non-chemical. Chemical methods include repellents and deterrents, while non-chemical methods involve barriers and masking scents. The pros of chemical methods are their effectiveness and ease of use, while their cons involve cost and potential harm to the environment.

The pros of non-chemical methods include their safety and eco-friendliness, while their cons include their labor-intensive installation and potentially being ineffective. Depending on your personal values and circumstances, you can choose the method that works best for you and your rhubarb crop.

With these preventative measures in place, you’ll be able to enjoy your rhubarb without worry of deer damage.


After carefully examining the topic of deer and rhubarb, it seems that the jury is still out on whether or not deer will eat rhubarb. While some sources suggest that deer will steer clear of the tart and fibrous plant, others claim to have witnessed deer munching on their rhubarb crops.

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However, as gardeners, it’s important to take precautions to protect rhubarb and other plants that may be susceptible to deer damage. This can include using physical barriers such as fences or applying deer repellent sprays, which can be found at many garden supply stores.

Ultimately, while it’s unclear whether deer are fond of rhubarb or not, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and take steps to protect your garden. Happy planting!