Texas Hunting Forum

Food plots making a difference in protein consumption

Posted By: Texas buckeye

Food plots making a difference in protein consumption - 06/05/18 03:32 AM

Have two protein feeders set up and been running them for a while so they are established. Deer hammered them after deer season as usual but when green up hit the deer slowed a bit. I have several 1 acre food plots in the area surrounding one of the feeders but donít have ability to do that in the area surrounding the other. Have noticed deer started hitting the feeders again as fawning was about to hit and they havenít laid off. Might be that the green growth is mostly grown now and not as palatable to the deer; either way, the deer been hitting the feeders for several weeks pretty good.

Filled the feeders a week and a couple days ago all the way to the top. Today I bought 400# to split between the two to carry over another week. The one close to the food plots filled at 175#, the other not close to food plots filled all 200# and could have taken another 150-200#. Minimal coon waste. Almost all went to deer. I have pics of deer hitting both feeders almost all night long. The deer hitting the one feeder just arenít needing as much due to getting some good nutrition from food plots. Walking the food plots the soy and greenbriar are nipped up really good and the deer are keeping the food plots pretty short. Next year I need bigger food plots.

During one cold snap after season the deer went through 600# in one week at the feeder that was missing around 400# today. So far thatís my record, hoping not to hit that again until February.
Posted By: stxranchman

Re: Food plots making a difference in protein consumption - 06/05/18 11:38 AM

IME It is common for deer to increase consumption in May every year especially starting in the 3rd to 4th year of feeding protein. I talked to a friend about 5 weeks ago about this since I had gotten him to start keeping feed records for every feeder on the ranch last year. I told him not to be surprised to see feed consumption go 40% after the spring green up was over or around the 10th of May. Bucks are really hitting feeders hard and does are using the feeders just not as heavy as the bucks. His feed consumption went up 33% in last 5 weeks with no food plots and 7" rain year to date. This was his 4th year of feeding protein. The deer raised on the feed are larger bodied and just capable of eating more protein since they larger bodied. If the deer herd body size wise is 30% larger today than 4 yrs ago they will eat more feed. If your buck to doe ratio is tighter today than when you started you will feed more feed since the bucks(larger in body size) will eat more feed per day than the does will. Without food plots most places will see consumption peak in August and then drop off with mast crops and rainfall in the fall.
Since I started feeding here 5.5 yr ago now, the deer have increased consumption post rut till it greened up in the spring. As new growth matured the feed consumption increased in May every year till the food plots started growing well and it rained (June has been a very good rainfall month all those years). Then protein consumption dropped again till later in Aug into Sept. Consumption then increased in October as the bucks were hitting the feeders much harder to get ready for the rut. Then consumption dropped off again in Nov and Dec with food plots and rain. Last year I filled feeders every 7 days in late April till first week of June. It started to rain, food plots came on well and consumption dropped way down. It rained till July 1st or so and then a 5" rain in early Aug followed by hurricane rain totals of 8" in late Aug and another 2.75" in Sept. I did not have to fill protein feeders till they ran out around Sept. 13th.
My feed consumption was around 60#/day total out of 3 protein feeders about a month ago with the lack of rain(about 5.3" yr to date at that point). I then got 1.5" of rain and it greened up as well as all my food plots came up. Last week it was down to 55#/day. I filled feeders on Monday last week and yesterday 2 were empty. The food plots are all gone now. So consumption is back up again with 95 to 100 degree temps everyday since the rain. I have a few bags of feed to put in each feeder and will have to get to feed store to get more this week. Last year I fed 3320 lbs of feed till June 6th and this year 5350 lbs as of June 5th. Last year I did not have to refill feeders till Sept 13th. Over 90 days between filling feeders. This year those same feeders will not make it 9 days.
Posted By: Texas buckeye

Re: Food plots making a difference in protein consumption - 06/05/18 10:06 PM

I will start logging my feed usage once I get my place built and I have a local place to keep the data. I didn't remember to start logging this season until it was too late, so will just pick a date and start. Probably beginning of deer season or something. Maybe end. Either way, I want to see trends between different feeders and the food plot strategies and see how they each play off each other. I am hoping to have the place finished by end of summer so we can be ready to go come season (and have a bed to sleep in with a bathroom rather than a truck and grass). I plan to have a good deer harvest log started with weights, age on the hoof, jaw bone age, buck antler info and doe pregnancy and lactation info. Then I can correlate good food plot seasons to weights and see if that matters as well as droughts, etc...its fun and exciting times for me now, just getting started with the management stuff. I know I need to take some doe to get number aligned better, but they aren't too far off. Just a lot of mouths to feed right now.
Posted By: stxranchman

Re: Food plots making a difference in protein consumption - 06/05/18 10:24 PM

Copies of your feed bills will get you close for a total consumption year to date. Just not get you per feeder info. I keep the same records you have and after a few years they will show you things that are happening or not happening as you thought they might. Body weights of bucks and does by age class and lactation on does are important to me more than scores on bucks. Just hard on a small place to get enough numbers in a year or two to gauge by. So I have to just look at the overall numbers for the year or years. I also keep rainfall numbers per month and then per year. That way I can tell how much it effects consumption. Also food plot info. Lot of info that might be worthless in the long run but I keep it anyway. grin What I like to use feed consumption data is gauge herd numbers that are living on or traveling into my place to feed. I can tell since I added a small pond that has overflow from the trough/windmill has increased the deer traffic and numbers this year vs. years past. Lack of surface water especially and water troughs in general are in short supply in my area of the county. It is fun to keep up with the records and then being to just enjoy your own place. Your rules to hunt and manage by makes it so much more enjoyable.
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