Deer Repellent made from Baby Formula?
In most of the northern states white tailed deer manage to cause headache to gardeners and their unprotected plants. The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted a study to evaluate the effectiveness of Homemade Deer Repellents that contain Hydrolyzed Casein. Like most individuals, I was unaware of Hydrolyzed Casein, let alone where to find it in my home. In layman’s terms Hydrolyzed Casein or HC, is found in some types of baby formula, specifically formulas that are used on colicky babies. In the study, the USDA tested HC’s effectiveness on deterring white tailed deer when applied to foliage the deer would regularly eat. Surprisingly, the HC was as effective as the name brand deer repellent, Big Game Repellent when applied in controlled situations.
According to the study, baby formula contains about 17% of Hydrolyzed Casein the main ingredient that deters the white tailed deer in the study. The researchers applied Elmer’s Glue in a ratio 3 parts water to 1 part of glue and sprayed the solution on the vegetation. In each trial the deer refused the plants sprayed with the HC solution for the vegetation that was left without a repellent.
I found the study to be very interesting, white tailed deer tend to be lazy eaters looking for food that is easy to access. When deer browse or eat plants and vegetation they tend to look for food that is to their height that would require little to no effort in order to obtain. Some potential gardeners have been turned away from purchasing new plants because of deer wreaking havoc on their investments. Although there is no fool proof way to deter deer 100% of the time, the idea presented in the study is another interesting approach to usage of Homemade Deer Repellent. I asked Mike McGroarty, for his expertise to be beneficial. Mike says, “the problem with applying these repellents is you don’t know how long the plant is protected. In my years of ridding deer I have found using green mesh fencing to keep deer out to be the best. The deer cannot judge the height of the fence because the fence color blends into the background.”
Gardeners have been trying for years to find safe and effective ways to keep deer from rummaging in their gardens. It is discouraging to invest time and money into a garden only to return to it the next day to find it has been ransacked by hungry deer. After speaking with Mike, I think in my own garden, I would follow his experience. So although the idea of Baby Formula, more specifically Hydrolyzed Casein, as yet another Homemade Deer Repellent does appeal to me; I’m going to follow the recommendation of Mike McGroarty and purchase the green mesh fencing to protect my garden.
Wholesale nurseries who stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars to plants from deer damage have tried every concoction available and suggested, including arming their nurseries with mean, barking dogs. The dogs helped, but they can only cover so much area. According to most nurseryman, a really high fence is the only dependable way to discourage hungry deer.