Is your donkey is a fussy eater, feeling under the weather, needs treats for training or encouragement to eat or drink in extreme weathers? We’ve put together some handy tips to help entice your donkey to eat and drink with these feeding ideas.

Generally as a rule we do not recommend feeding treats from the hand unless for training purposes as it can encourage your donkeys to bite. Always introduce new feeds gradually and caution must be given when feeding donkeys with dental problems.

Feed in moderation

We would recommend feeding only 1-2 leaves or one small handful-sized portion maximum per day.

  • Swede, turnips, bananas (including skin)
  • Pears, parsnips, fresh carrots - chopped (not into rounds) or freshly grated, not dried
  • Fresh apples - chopped (depending on size) or freshly grated, not dried or cooking apples
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Peppermint cordial - a capful added to normal feed may encourage eating
  • Bramble, wild strawberry, hedgerow - grazing on these will often tempt a sick donkey as the natural behaviour of foraging stimulates the appetite
  • Dried fenugreek can be fed in very small amounts (eg a teaspoon added to normal feed)
  • Marmite (in very small amounts) can sometimes be successful when all else has failed, can also be added to water if necessary. 

Feed with caution

These should only be fed when there is a genuine need identified.

  • Polos - high sugar levels, never feed sugar-free Polos
  • Ginger nut biscuits - high sugar levels, check that they do not contain animal products
  • Bread/jam sandwich - may be useful for giving medications
  • Apple puree - may be useful top dressing. 

Do not feed under any circumstances

  • Potatoes
  • Brassicas (cabbage, sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower)
  • Any member of the allium family (onions, garlic, leeks, etc)
  • Any product containing animal products (eg biscuits with animal fats or dairy products)
  • Cod liver oil or other oils of animal origin
  • Chocolate, sugar lumps, sweets
  • Lick-it style hanging treats - these are very high in sugar due to the molasses and donkeys can bite off chunks that can cause choke/colic
  • Human food (eg breakfast cereals or cakes)
  • Drinks containing caffeine, alcohol or carbonated drinks
  • Other animal feed (eg goat/sheep feeds)
  • Mouldy products due to possible mycotoxins
  • Poisonous plants and trees.

Want to know more?

Download our fact sheet