WHITE-TAILED DEER DON'T LIKE BABY FORMULA

What are you going to do about the deer? You invest money and time to improve the landscape only to have it mown down at the deer's preferred browsing height: to the ground. You've heard the list of home remedies: bar soap, human hair, fox urine, red pepper and the ever-popular products containing putrefied egg solids. Researchers at the USDA Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins, Colo., are trying to improve our arsenal for deer control. In a series of experiments, they offered food plants treated with or without hydrolyzed casein (HC) or baby formula containing 17 percent HC. In the first experiment, researchers offered deer HC-spiked food along with their base diet, after depriving the deer of food for six hours. Hands down, the deer preferred the food without HC or casein. They were then provided with only food with HC or only food without HC or casein. After eight days, it was apparent that the deer will eat anything; however, food without HC was consumed most eagerly and food with HC or casein only sparingly. Experiments two and three consisted of offering plant material coated with sticker only or with HC, or with one of two baby formulas, or with Deer Away Big Game Repellent powder. Again, control plant material was always eaten first. The rest of the plant material was eaten sparingly. Plants with baby formula were eaten a bit more readily than those with Deer Away Big Game Repellent or HC. What can you do with this information? Researchers did not mention the aesthetics of plants after treatment with a sticker and powdered baby formula, nor did they mention how well the treatment sustains irrigation or rain event. Obtaining and applying baby formula should be much easier than fox urine or tolerating the smell of putrefied egg solids. Hydrolyzed casein is also available in some nutritional supplements.

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