Skip to Content

How Long Can a Deer Live Without Food and Water? (Answered)

Deer are one of the very dear animals that we can see in the wild. With varying in types and in different colors, red, white-tailed, spotted. Roe and many more. 

We are discussing how long a deer can live without food and water and their different types, how many times do deer eat a day, do deer drink water every day, what happens when deer don’t get enough food and water and how to know if a deer is starving!

How long can a deer live without food and water?

Deer can go up to a month without eating but they will not live without water for more than 24hours. They survive with the fat that already exists in their body. With a good metabolic system, they take a long time to digest food. Roe, white-tailed, spotted, water deer all go in the same category.

Let’s walk through this section to know how long the following deers can survive without food and water – 

Baby deer:

Baby deer or fawns can take a long time without eating or drinking any milk. Baby deer can go from 1 to 2 and a half months (4 to 10 weeks) without mother’s milk.

Some are even seeing going without milk for almost 3 to 4 months, nearly 10-14 weeks. Baby deer should be given food about five to six times a day for healthy growth. 

If you have come across a baby deer, they might want even cry for more food, but more food is harmful to their health.

Baby deer tend to eat even if they feel ill eating way too much. Try not to overfeed the little ones. They can also be given some goat milk. They can also be given other milk substitutes if the mother does not produce enough milk. 

They tend to drink their mother’s milk till they are 12 weeks old. 

Whitetail deer:

The white-tailed deer is also known as the Odocoileus Virginianus, and they are found mostly in Native, North, and Central America. They are also one of the smallest members of the deer family. They grow from 90 to 200 cm, almost 35 to 85 inches.

They tend to eat grasses, fruits, nuts, seeds, throbs, twigs, and others. They find less food in the winter, so their metabolism functions in a way so that they can work on the stores up fat. Deer tend to store up fat before the fall or winter season.

They also limit their movements for more heat and energy conservation to survive throughout the winter. They can also survive almost one month without and food or food substance. 

They also have a very slow digestive system, leaving their food sometimes undigested.

Baby deer and whitetail deer both are specific species of deer and we should try to not let any animals starve. Try to bring them any source of food if you see them in need. 

They can survive eating 2 to 5 times a day during normal weather conditions.

If you see a starving white-tail deer, as they are very common during the winter season, try to give them some food, as many become very weak and fall into sickness without food and water. 

How many times do deer eat a day?

Deer eat five times a day. Deer goes from eating two meals a day to 5 meals a day in a 24 hour time period. 

They also drink almost 3 to 4 quarts of water every single day. In the warmer weather, they tend to leave their source of water through urination, but during winter, they try to conserve their quantity of water.

Deer drink water in a group, mainly during the evening time or after having a meal in the winter season. 

They can go almost a month without food and weeks without water, as there remains a scarcity, so they are adapted to the environment, making their bodies adapted to the harsh nature. They have a metabolic system that stores up the fat for the entire winter season starting from fall.

Do deer drink water every day?

Yes, deer drink water every day. They consume about 1 to 4 quarters of water every day, keeping it relative to their body weight. 

Deers can also go a long time without drinking any water as their metabolism, and digestive system functions that way, especially in the winter, in a harsher environment.

Deer can also eat the snow if they can’t find a solid source of water during the winter season. They consume water in a 3 to 1 ratio. If they can not find enough water, their stress and nutrient level decrease, leading to dehydration.

If you see deers dehydrated try to give them some water, especially in the harsher weathers where there might be a scarcity of water during the winter or drought times.

What happens when deer don’t get enough food and water? 

Deer are a kind of mammals that can survive for a very long period of time without any food or water due to their metabolic system that comes along the winter and the summer seasons. 

But they can also be overlooked due to their strength. They can also fall into disease and sicknesses if they are not given even the minimum range of food. We are mentioning a list of effects that can be seen on the deers if they don’t get enough food or water below:   


Deer drink about three pounds of water if they take about one pound of other food materials.

They require a lot of water and even though they accumulate over fat during the winter seasons, they can not do that with water. So, one of the main sicknesses they can fall into is dehydration.

Try to give water during the warm seasons when they stream if the water seems to dry out even in the winter. Even though they can eat ice, it is better to give them some water sources to drink from.  

Weak Health:

Deer try to move less during the winter season to conserve over fat, but even after that, they usually take about 2 to 5 meals a day, and going to nothing in 1 month can be tough on some of the deer. 

Which leads them to feeble health leading to more diseases until they can’t go along with the harsher weather anymore leaving a toll on their survival. 

How to know if a deer is starving?

A deer might seem like an animal that can go for a long time without any food, but even deer can sometimes starve themselves in feeble situations. 

This generally happens during a season when it gets extremely harsh if there is a wildfire or a drought is happening, or a kind of parasite strikes in the grasses and leaves the fields empty and even in the winter season. 

We should always be on the lookout for the deer in such a situation. We are mentioning below how you can see if a deer is starving: 

Fat Conservation:

They have a layer of fat above the rump, and if the saddle of fat starts to look thin, they are on the path to starvation. Try to look out for any of these deer during the winter season.

If you do, bring them some food. The cheapest way to provide them with food is some nuts or oats that you can find lying around your home. That will give them energy for a while. 

Weak Bones:

If you see some deer wandering around you. There is a high chance they have come across to look for food. If their bones and body look thinner than usual, that means they are not getting enough energy and food.

They can also be found shivering. Some even go to the point of starvation when they cannot move. Look out for any deer that is just lying around because they might be in need of some help. 

Final Thoughts 

Deer are long food runners, but they can also be on starvation or dehydrated. Try to provide them some oats, nuts, shoots, plants, try to avoid corn, hays, etc. Roe deer, white-tail deer, and baby deer can go up to almost one month of food and water. But try to feed them 2-5 times a day.