Many people wonder what foods they can feed to donkeys. Finding the right snacks for them makes feeding time more fun and provides time for you to bond with your animals.
Can donkeys eat apples?
Apples are the quintessential treat for donkeys, horses, and several other farm animals. The juicy meat of the apple is a delicious snack for them, and a cool, sweet apple helps keep them cool in the heat of the summer months.
The main problem donkey owners run into is not treating apples like a treat. When you feed too many apples to a donkey, it can distract them from their everyday food.
Apples also can trigger increased blood sugar levels and make them gain weight. Therefore, it’s best to keep feeding apples to donkeys as an occasional thing.
Some people will feed their donkeys a couple of apples a week, while others make it a daily treat. Both are fine, as long as you don’t overfeed your donkey or cause unintended weight gain.
Your donkey will usually love eating as many apples as possible, so it’s up to you to find a balance with how much fruit you give them.
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Feeding Apples in a Balanced Donkey Diet
Donkeys eat mostly hay and straw. Both give them the fiber they need to keep things moving through their digestive systems and stay healthy.
However, eating straw all day, as you might imagine, can get boring, which is why donkeys typically react so positively to treats.
Apples are an amazing treat for donkeys. Usually, apples tend to be very sweet compared to other fruits.
Therefore, apples are often best when mixed in with other treats like carrots, celery, watermelon, and other healthy snacks.
Donkey owners typically look for affordable foods with good shelf lives for their donkeys. The snacks may vary based on what’s the most cost-effective that week.
Still, donkeys love apples and will come running if they see you on your way to them with apples in your hands.
Are Apples Healthy for Donkeys?
Overall, apples are a healthy and delicious treat for your donkeys. They’re full of the vitamins, fiber, and minerals your donkey needs to feel good and maintain the right energy levels.
Apples are found worldwide, and donkey owners across the globe feed them as snacks.
However, apples should not be a staple in a donkey’s diet. These grazing animals should eat straw, grass, etc., instead of fruit or vegetables.
Types of Apples You Can Feed to Donkeys
Donkeys are strong animals that won’t discriminate against the types of apples you feed them. They can eat green apples, red apples, fallen apples, cooked apples, etc. They can also eat the seeds and stems.
The only thing you’ll want to avoid is feeding your donkey applesauce.
It’s fine if you’re making the applesauce from scratch, but the applesauce you find in stores usually has sugar added to it. So, if you see a deal on applesauce in the store, try to buy organic and check to ensure there’s no added sugar.
Also, donkeys and all other equine animals must avoid eating apple tree leaves because they can be toxic. If a donkey eats enough of them, it can be fatal.
How to Feed Your Donkeys Apples
Anytime you introduce new foods to donkeys, you should do it slowly to monitor how it affects their health and digestion.
For example, if feeding them apples causes diarrhea, you’ll want to limit how many apples they eat or skip them altogether.
Start by giving them one apple and wait a few days to see how they react.
Donkeys are very robust, so you shouldn’t see any worrying signs. This can give you the confidence to know that apples won’t harm them, and you can start feeding them more gradually.
You can feed apples to donkeys by hand if you know your donkey won’t bite you. However, donkeys will be eager to get to the apples, so it’s possible they’ll nibble your fingers.
If you’re worried about a bite, you should chop the apples into smaller pieces and feed them to your donkeys in a bowl.
The same goes for any time you let strangers or children feed your donkeys apples. Donkeys can be aggressive or standoffish around people they don’t know.
Avoid bites and hurt feelings by using a bowl or putting the apples in with their regular feed.
You may want to freeze your apples or grind apples into frozen apple juice to keep your donkeys cool when it’s hot outside. They’ll happily lick the frozen apple juice until every last drop is gone.
Don’t Feed Donkeys Rotten Apples
Never give your donkey any apples with mold or rotten parts.
Bruising is OK because donkeys aren’t picky eaters, but don’t risk their health by giving them rotten apples. Rotten apples could make your donkeys sick, and you’ll have to pay for expensive vet visits.
Rotten apples are the main reason why so many donkey owners try to keep their animals away from apple trees. Fallen apples are fine to eat.
However, they rot and attract worms and other bugs when they’re on the ground for too long. If your donkey eats those apples, it can get parasites and suffer from other health problems.
It’s best if you pick up the fallen apples quickly and then prepare them for your donkeys rather than letting them graze underneath apple trees.
Have Fun Giving Your Donkey Treats!
Ultimately, feeding your donkey apples should be a fun experience for both of you. As an owner or caregiver, watching your donkey happily munch on a sweet apple is fulfilling.
It would help if you also mixed in other fruits like watermelon, bananas, and pears to give them different foods to enjoy.
These snacks are healthy but remember that they are meant to be snacks. Don’t give them too much fruit because it can stop them from eating their regular food.
Take things slowly and make sure everything you give them is safe to eat. If you have homegrown apples, great! Otherwise, wait until you see deals on apples at the store and snatch them up for treats.
Apples are great because they last long after you buy them, so you can spread them out over days and weeks. They’re incredibly delicious when they are in season!