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A good life for wildlife

Posted on 10/08/2015 by Jean Sexton

Biltmore welcomes more than a million guests each year—and those are just the ones who come through the gates!

In addition to our visitors and passholders, our 8,000-acre backyard is also home to a wide variety of wildlife and birds, including deer, rabbits, turkeys, and migratory waterfowl.

Corn growing on a hillGrounds Maintenance Supervisor Curt Horn and his crew are responsible for our Wildlife Management Program which helps Biltmore’s wild “guests” find food and shelter on the estate.

“We average about 300 acres of field crops each year,” said Curt, “and almost half of that is designated for wildlife food plots.”

In addition to the colorful sunflowers that bloom in the summer, Curt and his team plant corn, soybeans, wheat, legumes, and millet in the rich fields along the river. While the majority of these crops are harvested to support Biltmore’s herds of cattle, sheep, and other farm animals, there’s still more than enough to share with wildlife and birds.

Some areas of the estate feature smaller plantings of radishes, canola, soybeans, corn, and sorghum—a delightful feast for our four-legged and feathered friends to enjoy even into the winter, when other food sources may become more scarce. Meadow grasses and other plantings in cleared spaces provide welcome shelter for animals and nesting sites for a variety of birds.

Meadow grass and forest“We are continuing George Vanderbilt’s legacy of caring for Biltmore’s wildlife by providing food and habitats,” Curt said. “And it’s also an important aspect of keeping the estate healthy.”

As always, our guests’ safety is of paramount concern, and we remind you not to approach estate wildlife or birds. In addition, while dogs are welcomed on estate grounds as long as they are securely leashed, state law prohibits pets from entering fenced enclosures protecting farm animals. Visit our complete wildlife viewing policy here.

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