Donkeys love treats. Adding fruits and vegetables to a donkey’s diet provides variety and encourages a healthy appetite. However, donkeys also have very particular nutritional needs.
They are prone to obesity, which can lead to hyperlipidemia, a dangerous or even deadly condition for them. Having a well-planned feeding program for your donkey that includes a small number of treats is the best way to show your love.
The good news is that they are a great number of fruits and vegetables you can safely feed your donkeys to add some variety and fun to their diet.
For any of these fruits and vegetables, make sure they are fresh, free of mold, and cut into smaller pieces, such as sticks, to avoid choking.
These treats should also be kept to one small handful (one or two pieces) maximum per day.
Finally, introduce any new foods to your donkeys gradually, and always consult your donkeys’ veterinarian or nutritionist before adding new fruits and vegetables to their diet.
You should also pay special attention to your donkey’s dental health: check with a veterinarian first to see if any of these treats could be dangerous for a donkey with dental problems.
9 Fruits Donkeys Love
Donkeys love apples. Apples are high in fiber and high in vitamin C. One medium apple has 95 calories, o grams fat, and 3 grams fiber.
They also have 19 grams of naturally occurring sugar and 25 grams of carbohydrates (source). They are certainly a healthy treat to give to your donkeys.
Fresh apples are best for donkeys. You can feed them to them chopped or freshly grated. Avoid dried or cooked apples.
On occasion, apple puree can be added on top of feed to encourage a fussy eater or a donkey that has lost its appetite (source).
Bananas are another fruit that is very popular with donkeys. High in potassium, bananas are also a source of vitamin B6, fiber, magnesium, vitamin C, and manganese (source).
Some of these essential minerals (namely potassium and magnesium) are an important part of a donkey’s healthy diet.
Also, no need to take that peel off! Banana peel is safe for donkeys and they love eating it (source).
Pears are another high fiber and nutrient-rich fruit that your donkeys will love. A medium-sized pear has 3.1 grams of fiber and is a good source of potassium (source).
Similar to apples, cut pears into small chunks for safe eating and only serve fresh.
Watermelon is mostly water, about 92 percent! (source). And they are a safe fruit for your donkeys to eat.
Donkeys need constant access to fresh, abundant water, this fruit is a good way to ensure your donkey is keeping hydrated while having a delicious treat.
This vitamin C-rich fruit is another safe and delicious treat for your donkeys. Rich both in fiber and water, oranges are very healthy for donkeys to eat.
Donkeys enjoy oranges just like their equine relative horses. Both the skin and the seeds are safe as well, so no need to worry if some of it makes it into the donkeys’ treats.
As with any other of these treats, do not feed a whole orange to your donkey: make sure to cut it into sections first.
Another citrus that is safe for donkeys, grapefruits are a source of vitamin C and lower in calories and sugar than oranges (source). This makes them a very healthy treat for donkeys.
7. Wild Strawberries
According to The Donkey Sanctuary, wild strawberries are a good treat for a sick donkey.
Giving some wild strawberries to your donkey to graze on will stimulate its appetite as it mimics donkeys’ natural foraging behavior.
If wild strawberries are not available in your area, store bought regular strawberries are also safe for your donkeys to eat (source).
Strawberries are full of water, very low in calories, and a good source of fiber–100 grams of strawberries contain 2 grams of fiber–all traits that make them a very healthy treat for your donkeys.
Sweet, juicy pineapple: donkeys love it, but is it safe? It turns out, this tropical fruit is perfectly safe for donkeys to eat as a treat.
According to The Donkey Sanctuary in Manchester, this is a popular treat for their donkeys.
Cut pineapple in small triangles and no need to take the peel off, donkeys are happy to eat it!
Blackberries are low in calories and very high in fiber: 100 grams of blackberries have only 43 calories and 5.3 grams of fiber (source).
Foraging is part of a donkey’s natural behavior, so they will love munching on a blackberry branch, fruits and, leaves all together!
8 Vegetables Donkeys Love
Carrots are one of the most popular treats for donkeys. They are also one of the easiest to find as you may have many in your own kitchen for the humans in your house or farm.
Carrots are low in calories and a good source of fiber, although a somewhat lower source than some other fruits and vegetables on this list.
However, they are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium (source): all nutritional components that are important for optimum donkey health.
Pumpkin is a very safe and healthy vegetable to feed your donkey. Pumpkins are 92 percent water and very high in fiber.
Pumpkins are also full of essential minerals including magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus (source).
Cut up raw pumpkin in small chunks before feeding it to your donkeys. Also, stay away from pumpkin that has started to go off or that is moldy: mold is toxic for donkeys.
3. Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is another healthy vegetable from the gourd/squash family that’s very safe for donkeys.
Similar to pumpkin, butternut squash is very high in water, a great source of fiber, and rich in essential minerals including magnesium and potassium (source).
Turnips belong to the cruciferous family, along with kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower.
While turnips are safe for donkeys, other cruciferous vegetables are not. See section below for fruits and vegetables to avoid.
Turnips are a nutrient-dense vegetable that’s very low in calories, making it an ideal treat for donkeys.
One cup of cut up turnips has only 36 calories and is a great source of vitamin C and vitamin K (source).
Rutabagas, also known as Swedish turnips or swedes, are another popular treat for donkeys.
Over 80 percent water, this root vegetable is very low in calories and source of fiber (source).
According to most donkey experts, rutabagas are one of their most common go-to treats for their donkeys (source).
Full of water and fiber, celery is a great treat for donkeys.
Celery is a good source of potassium and very low in calories; a 110 gram portion has only 15 calories, so this is a particularly healthy vegetable for donkeys to eat (source).
This superfood for humans is also a good and safe treat for donkeys.
Although slightly higher in sugar than turnips or celery, they are also a great source of manganese, potassium, and iron, some of the essential minerals that a healthy donkey diet should contain.
Corn is a plentiful vegetable and is safe for donkeys. However, corn is also a grain and a high source of starch; so this is one vegetable that should be given only as a source of additional energy if needed.
In addition, corn cobs are hard to digest and may cause colic.
Fruits and vegetables to Avoid
While there is an abundance of fruits and vegetables donkeys can eat safely, there are also many that should be avoided as they are toxic for donkeys.
- Members of the brassica family: kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower.
- Vegetables from the nightshade family: potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, and onions, leeks, and garlic.
- Other stone fruits
When looking to introduce new foods to your donkey’s diet, it is important to consult an equine nutritionist as well as a variety of sources. These are the sources consulted in this article:
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