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Have You Used Manure to Deter Deer?

Does horse manure keep the deer away from your garden? Read the following testimonials and post a comment (below) on your own experiences.

Horses, Donkeys and, wait, No Deer — Oh My!

I read the report about horse manure being a natural deer repellent (Dear Mother: June/July 2008). Since reading that, I realized that donkey poop works too! We supplement our soil with donkey manure, and I realized that we haven’t had a deer problem since we began doing so. We enjoy Mother and read it cover to cover several times over, especially the gardening tips.

Mike Shackelford
Fairmont, West Virginia

Daring Deer

A few years ago, I got some horse manure from my dad to amend the soil. I had the most beautiful stand of heirloom brandywine tomatoes — until deer ate them to the ground. In my experience, nothing short of a Jurassic Park-style fence will deter deer. They eat anything and are afraid of nothing. Dogs, garlic, screaming, yelling, hot pepper, an electric fence, etc., do not work.

Karowin Cassell
Glade Valley, North Carolina

Post a comment below.


Pam Rice
6/5/2010 9:32:10 PM
Last year I had a fairly large sunflower/flower/melon patch, separate from my regular garden and very distant from the house, which had freshly planted Jerusalem artichokes in the corners. The deer ate them to the ground every time the got more than a few inches high. This year the 40x60 bed is covered with 1.5 feet of horse manure and bedding from end to end...and my Jerusalem artichokes haven't been touched.

MariJean Andersen
10/7/2008 5:29:47 PM
I have found that manures and urine do not deter deer. I've seen deer grazing in pastures with horses. The only thing that has worked for me is hanging aluminum pie plates around the perimeter and between some of the plants. We've watched deer graze on the lawn around the garden but never go into it.

brian R.
10/5/2008 10:03:30 PM
I think deer fear novelty but quickly get used to things that pose no real threat. That's why so many things work to deter them, initially. They'll stay away from new smells until those smells aren't new anymore. Deer are also nibblers -- they sample lots of things and don't eat too much of any, thus they can metabolize many toxic plants. Fencing is the only effective deterrent. Electric fences can work, but take lots of maintenance. The deer often break the wire when they hit it, grounding out the rest of the fence. So you need to continually repair the fence until the deer learn to respect and avoid it. Where deer were jumping my fence, I put an electric fence about 6' away, which kept them from getting the running start. Mixed feelings is watching a 6 prong buck from 20 feet away, eating your strawberries.

Lori Tersigni
9/25/2008 2:00:34 PM
I also believe that deer don't care if there is horse/donkey manure in the garden. I often have deer in with my horses in the morning and more often than not, they find a way to get into my garden which is mostly made up of composted bedding and horse manure. Nothing short of a miracle (or very high fence) will keep them out.

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