Donkeys are primarily foragers, evolved from a long line of descendants who spent a long time searching and nibbling a variety of different foods. Here in Birmingham, our team has been coming up with different ways to mimic a donkey’s natural behaviour… and they have come up with the donkey forage box! A clever way of recycling an old toy box, the donkey forage box has a wide opening in the top covered by mesh so that herbs, plants and grasses can be grown through for the donkeys to nibble.
The donkeys were very curious when the new object was added on to the yard, watching from a distance and then approaching cautiously. There was one thing that piqued the donkeys' interest and got them moving forwards… the tempting smell of fresh mint!
Within a few minutes the box was surrounded by a curious bunch of hungry foragers. The box allowed 5 to 6 donkeys around at a time and all of the donkeys in the herd got to have a little minty nibble.
It was interesting to watch them as they tried to curl their tongues around the leaves and stems of the mint. The forage box also encouraged the donkeys to sniff each other’s noses, smelling the minty fresh breath and almost passing on the message to the other donkeys who hadn’t tried it yet that the mint was there.
It was rewarding to see the donkeys behaving as they would in the wild; spending their time thinking about how to get their food, encouraging socialisation and playing on their natural sense of curiosity.