Here in Birmingham we are always looking for ways to enrich the lives of our donkeys and variety in their diet is a great way to encourage a healthy appetite. Donkeys are natural foragers, using smell and touch to seek out new taste experiences and they love to explore different tastes and textures.
The first of the five animal freedoms is Freedom from hunger or thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour. Fruit and vegetables can be fed in small amounts and carrots, apples, bananas, pears, turnips and swedes are all safe and usually enjoyed by donkeys.
Potatoes and anything from the brassica family, onions, leeks, garlic, and stoned fruit should be avoided as should old, fermented or mouldy items. For more information on what to feed your donkeys see below, External Links: What to feed your donkeys.
We have eighteen donkeys here and decided to try a feed of swedes. Nine swedes had a hole put through the middle (using an apple corer) and were threaded onto a twine. The twine was then looped over the fence posts around our outside play area.
The donkeys were in the top field when the swedes were put out and watched inquisitively. When the gate was opened they marched through the gate with quite a purpose. They could smell something new in the air.
They took a close look at the swedes and a few good sniffs before being convinced they were safe to eat but once started there was no stopping them. Using their teeth and the fence to push against they proceeded to break the swedes up into bite size pieces. They were all keen to try and each donkey had a turn.
It took half an hour and a lot of crunching for eighteen donkeys to eat nine swedes carefully watched over by our grooms. There was a bit of pushing around the fence but on the whole they were very well behaved and shared the new experience well.
Having demolished the new vegetable and enjoyed the taste they returned to mooching about the field in search of their next taste challenge.