Keeping deer away from bird feeders

Share or view as webpage  |  Update preferences

deer and bird feeder

This spring and summer, we need your help to keep deer from browsing on the birdseed in your feeders and on the ground beneath. Food sources like bird feeders congregate deer, raising the risk of deer passing diseases to the other deer gathered there.

Baiting and recreational feeding of deer remains illegal throughout the Lower Peninsula and the Core CWD Area in the Upper Peninsula. The ban is in place to lower the risk of spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) and bovine tuberculosis. Both diseases are spread through saliva and other bodily fluids that can be present at shared feeding sites.

You can help keep deer away from your feeders with these bird feeding tips:

  • Use feeders that are difficult for deer to access, like tube or hopper feeders or suet cages.
  • Use birdseed that is less attractive to deer, like thistle, suet and hummingbird nectar.
  • Only put out the amount of seed that birds will eat in a day. Deer tend to visit feeders in the evening and if they find empty feeders, they will move on.
  • Hang your feeders high – 6 feet off the ground or higher – to keep deer from accessing seed.
  • Hang your feeders close to the house, as deer may be less likely to approach a dwelling.
  • Keep the ground under your feeders clean to prevent deer browsing. Use mess-free seed or rake the area regularly.
  • Securely install 4-foot or taller woven-wire fencing around all your feeders to prevent deer from reaching over or through to feed.
  • Fence your yard with woven-wire fencing that is at least 10 feet tall to prevent deer from entering.

Taking these steps can help slow the spread of deer disease in Michigan. We appreciate your help.

Questions? Contact us at 517-284-9453 (WILD)

Learn more about CWD ►

DNR COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on affected DNR facilities and services, visit this webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at