Food is an important part of Christmas time for many people, so we get a lot of questions this time of year about what our donkeys will be enjoying over the festive period too.

This Christmas you can adopt safe in the knowledge that our staff have considered exactly what the donkeys’ diets should be through the winter and beyond. So what should donkeys eat? Here we answer a few of your questions:

What do donkeys eat?

Living in their natural habitat, the desert, donkeys will browse, eating high-fibre food in small doses through the day. At The Donkey Sanctuary we provide similar feed to what they might find in the wild, plus a few additional supplements (and the occasional treat) to make sure all their nutritional needs are fully met.

What do donkeys eat at The Donkey Sanctuary?

Our donkeys have access to restricted grazing as well as troughs full of straw to make sure they are getting all of the fibre they need. They also have access to the occasional treat through enrichment activities.

What’s the best straw to feed donkeys?

We recommend that donkeys are fed quality barley straw. This is because it is high in fibre and low in sugar, it also closely resembles food that a donkey would eat in the wild.

Can donkeys have treats?

If a donkey is a fussy eater, feeling under the weather, or is in need of training or encouragement to eat and drink in extreme weather, then we have some tasty treats that donkeys can be tempted with. We also like to recognise special occasions such as birthdays and, of course, Christmas by putting together some tasty snacks for all of the donkeys to enjoy.

What treats can donkeys be fed?

Chopped fresh carrots, chopped fresh apples, pears, turnips, swede, bananas, and fresh mint leaves are all tasty treats for donkeys in moderation. For an extra special occasion we might offer a polo or a bite of a ginger nut biscuit, which they really seem to enjoy!

What shouldn’t donkeys eat?

Potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, onions, garlic, leeks, chocolate, sugar lumps, sweets, cakes, or drinks containing caffeine or alcohol should never be fed to donkeys.

At no time should donkeys be fed any part of Christmas trees as they are highly toxic.

Can I feed the donkey?

You can visit our donkeys for free all year round, however we ask that you do not feed the donkeys. It is very important that we keep track of everything the donkeys are eating to ensure we are giving them a balanced and healthy diet. However, if you ask a member of staff we will be happy to show you where you can leave some treats for your donkey!

Want to know more?