Cracked Corn vs Whole Corn for Deer: Nutritional Value, Digestibility, and Palatability

Cracked corn vs whole corn for deer – When it comes to deer feeding, the debate between cracked corn and whole corn has been ongoing for years. Both options have their pros and cons, and the best choice for your deer will depend on a number of factors.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the nutritional value, digestibility, and palatability of cracked corn and whole corn to help you make an informed decision.

Cracked corn is simply whole corn that has been broken down into smaller pieces. This makes it easier for deer to digest, but it also means that it is more likely to be wasted. Whole corn, on the other hand, is more difficult for deer to digest, but it is also less likely to be wasted.

Nutritional Comparison: Cracked Corn Vs Whole Corn For Deer

Cracked corn vs whole corn for deer

Cracked corn and whole corn are both popular food sources for deer, but they have different nutritional profiles. Cracked corn is easier for deer to digest, but whole corn contains more nutrients.

The following table compares the nutritional content of cracked corn and whole corn:

Nutrient Cracked Corn Whole Corn
Protein 8.5% 10.5%
Fat 3.5% 4.5%
Carbohydrates 78% 75%
Fiber 2% 5%

As you can see, whole corn contains more protein, fat, and fiber than cracked corn. However, cracked corn is more easily digestible, which means that deer can get more nutrients from it.

Advantages of Cracked Corn

  • Easier to digest
  • More palatable
  • Less expensive

Advantages of Whole Corn

  • Contains more nutrients
  • Provides more fiber
  • Can be stored for longer periods of time


Cracked corn vs whole corn for deer

The digestibility of cracked corn and whole corn for deer differs significantly due to the physical and chemical changes that occur during processing. Cracked corn has a higher surface area than whole corn, which allows for easier access to digestive enzymes and increased nutrient availability.

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The process of cracking also breaks down the tough outer layer of the corn kernel, making it more digestible for deer.

Nutrient Availability

The increased surface area of cracked corn allows for more efficient digestion and absorption of nutrients. Studies have shown that deer fed cracked corn have higher levels of digestible energy and protein than those fed whole corn. The smaller particle size of cracked corn also makes it easier for deer to chew and swallow, which reduces the risk of digestive problems.

Deer’s Digestive Systems

Deer have a four-chambered stomach that is well-suited for digesting both cracked corn and whole corn. The first chamber, the rumen, is a large fermentation vat where microbes break down plant material. The second chamber, the reticulum, helps to regurgitate partially digested food back into the mouth for further chewing.

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Coming back to our corn debate, both cracked and whole corn have their own advantages and disadvantages. Cracked corn is easier for deer to digest, but it can also be more expensive than whole corn. Whole corn is more affordable, but it can be harder for deer to eat.

The third chamber, the omasum, absorbs water and nutrients from the digesta. The fourth chamber, the abomasum, is similar to the human stomach and produces digestive enzymes to further break down food.

When deer consume cracked corn, it is more easily broken down in the rumen and reticulum. The smaller particle size also allows for more efficient absorption of nutrients in the omasum and abomasum. In contrast, whole corn is more difficult to digest, and deer may pass a significant amount of undigested kernels in their feces.


Cracked chickens deer feed

The palatability of cracked corn and whole corn to deer is a subject of debate among hunters and wildlife managers. Some believe that cracked corn is more palatable to deer, while others believe that whole corn is more palatable. There is some evidence to support both sides of this argument.

One study found that deer preferred cracked corn over whole corn when both types of corn were offered in a choice test. However, another study found that deer preferred whole corn over cracked corn when the corn was offered in a single-choice test.

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In the realm of deer nutrition, the debate between cracked corn and whole corn lingers. While both provide energy, cracked corn may be easier to digest. On the flip side, whole corn might offer more nutrients. However, the question arises: can a deer survive with only one lung? This is an intriguing inquiry, as deer rely heavily on their respiratory system for survival.

Click here to delve into the fascinating world of deer biology and discover if a deer can thrive with just one lung. Returning to the topic of corn, it’s essential to consider the specific needs of your deer population when selecting between cracked or whole corn.

These studies suggest that the palatability of cracked corn and whole corn may depend on the specific circumstances in which they are offered.

Factors that may influence deer’s preference for one type of corn over the other

  • The age of the deer
  • The nutritional needs of the deer
  • The availability of other food sources
  • The taste and texture of the corn

Recommendations for optimizing the palatability of each type of corn, Cracked corn vs whole corn for deer

  • For cracked corn, it is important to use a fine grind. Deer prefer cracked corn that is small and easy to chew.
  • For whole corn, it is important to soak the corn in water for 24 hours before feeding it to deer. This will help to soften the corn and make it more palatable.

Cost and Availability

When choosing between cracked corn and whole corn for deer feeding, cost and availability are important considerations. Here’s a comparison of the two types of corn based on these factors:


Cracked corn is generally more expensive than whole corn per unit weight. This is because the process of cracking the corn requires additional labor and equipment. However, cracked corn may be a better value for your money if it is more digestible and palatable to deer, resulting in less waste.


Both cracked corn and whole corn are widely available in most regions. However, the availability of each type of corn may vary depending on the season. Cracked corn is typically more readily available during the winter months, while whole corn may be more plentiful during the summer and fall.

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Tips for Finding the Best Deals

  • Buy in bulk to save money. Many feed stores offer discounts on large purchases of corn.
  • Shop around for the best prices. Compare prices from different feed stores before making a purchase.
  • Consider buying cracked corn or whole corn directly from a farmer. This can often be a more economical option than buying from a feed store.

Environmental Impact

Feeding deer cracked corn or whole corn can have potential environmental impacts, including:

Waste:Cracked corn is more easily digestible than whole corn, leading to less waste and nutrient runoff. Whole corn, on the other hand, can pass through the deer’s digestive system undigested, resulting in more waste and nutrient runoff.

Nutrient runoff:Nutrient runoff from deer feeding can contribute to water pollution. Excess nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, can lead to algal blooms, fish kills, and other water quality problems.

Habitat alteration:Feeding deer in concentrated areas can alter their natural feeding patterns and habitat use. This can lead to overgrazing, trampling of vegetation, and soil erosion.

Recommendations for Minimizing Environmental Impact

To minimize the environmental impact of deer feeding, consider the following recommendations:

  • Feed deer only during the winter months when natural food sources are scarce.
  • Use cracked corn instead of whole corn to reduce waste and nutrient runoff.
  • Feed deer in designated areas away from water sources and sensitive habitats.
  • Monitor deer feeding areas regularly and adjust feeding rates as needed.
  • Consider using alternative deer attractants, such as mineral blocks or food plots, to reduce the environmental impact of feeding.

Outcome Summary

Cracked deer wagner wagners turkeys

Ultimately, the best way to determine which type of corn is right for your deer is to experiment. Offer both types of corn and see which one they prefer. You may also want to consider factors such as the cost, availability, and environmental impact of each type of corn.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cracked corn bad for deer?

Cracked corn is not necessarily bad for deer, but it is not as nutritious as whole corn. Cracked corn is also more likely to be wasted, as deer can easily spill it or blow it away.

Is whole corn better for deer than cracked corn?

Whole corn is more nutritious than cracked corn, and it is also less likely to be wasted. However, whole corn can be more difficult for deer to digest, especially if they are not used to eating it.

How much corn should I feed my deer?

The amount of corn you should feed your deer will depend on a number of factors, including the size of your deer herd, the quality of your forage, and the availability of other food sources. A good rule of thumb is to feed no more than 1 pound of corn per deer per day.

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