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Not Tonight, Deer! An All-Natural Deer Repellent

When it comes to pest control, it can be a real drag to be an organic gardener. Chef Daniel Orr has an all-natural solution for deterring hungry deer.


Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

Garlic, hot peppers and milk combine into a potent brew that will keep deer away from your garden and trees.

Deer will eat just about anything. I learned that the hard way this season. A group of them decimated the leaves on my newly planted apple, pear and plum trees one night.

But I’m fighting back!*

I grow my plants organically, so I was motivated to find an all-natural way to deter pests. At first glace, this recipe looks edible — almost like a Green Goddess Dressing — but let it sit out for a few days to “brew.” The buttermilk will go rancid and the heat from the peppers will tickle your nose. You’ll understand why deer won’t want to be anywhere near this stuff!

With that said, don’t use this on the trees and plants near your front door. You want to repel deer and other pests, not your house guests!

Not Tonight, Deer! (An All-Natural Deer Repellent)


  • 1 egg
  • 2 whole spicy chilis (habanero or Scotch bonnet)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • handful garlic chives
  • 1 tablespoon salad oil
  • 3 quarts water
  • strainer
  • spray bottle

Cooking Directions

  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a blender. Add 1 quart of water and blend.
  2. Pour mixture into a jug and add 2 more quarts of water. Let it sit out for a couple days to develop a pungent odor.
  3. Strain the mixture and put it in a squirt bottle. Apply to the bark of trees, around plants and wherever pests go for a snack.

*No deer were harmed in the making of this repellent.

Chef Daniel Orr

Chef Daniel Orr is the owner of FARMbloomington and the author of several cookbooks. He draws from a lifelong curiosity about individual ingredients combined with extensive training in the art of finding food’s true essence and flavor. The result is simple, yet sophisticated; the best of American food tempered by classic European training.

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