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From: Stacey Jarrett
Barry, IL
We have purchased a home in the country. It is teaming with wildlife. I would like to have feeders out. How can I make sure that I have the proper food for the numerious birds, gray squirrel ect. I dont want to feed them a bunch of "junk food" that would be unhealthy for them. We have spotted 8-10 deer feet away from our back deck. Should some sort of feed be put out for them during the cold months or is it better not to have them group around a feeder.

Thank you

Extension Message
From: Laura Kammin
Visiting Extension Specialist, Pollution Prevention
Extension-Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
Congrats on the new house. Putting out bird feeders is a great way to watch birds. Using high quality food, proper placement of feeders, and keeping the feeders clean are all important steps when feeding birds. The best source of information about bird feeding that I can recommend is Cornell's website: As for the deer, it is illegal to feed deer in Illinois due to concerns about spreading Chronic Wasting Disease. That being said, they are likely to help themselves to the bird feed you put out (as will squirrels, opossums, and others), and that is fine. But I would not advise purposefully feeding the deer. They will find plenty of food on their own. If you have further questions after checking out Cornell's website, please feel free to e-mail me. Have fun feeding the birds.

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