What Do Donkeys Eat A Hearty Exploration of Donkey Diets 1

What Do Donkeys Eat? Digestive System, Diet, and Nutritional Needs

Their stomachs easily break down foods so that they can absorb the maximum nutrition from what they do eat. Therefore, it’s important to feed them the right type of foods, otherwise your donkey could easily become overweight, as well as facing a higher risk of laminitis. They have a highly efficient digestive system that allows them to utilize rough, fibrous plant material more effectively than horses.

The food provides the energy, protein, minerals and vitamins which the donkey needs for maintenance, for work, for growth, and when appropriate for pregnancy and lactation. Many people assume that donkeys can survive by fending for themselves on grazing and do not need any special feeding. However, the food demands of donkeys can vary over the year, depending if they are doing a lot of work, or if they are pregnant or have a foal to feed. The feed quality of grazing varies Future of animal diets throughout the year too as the grasses develop from young easily digested plants to the mature plants after flowering, which contain more fibre and are less digestible. To make sure a donkey is well fed it is necessary to know something about its feed requirements and then how best to meet these requirements from the feeds that are available. Also many working equids suffer from varying degrees of dehydration, because they do not receive enough water in the working day.

What do animals eat

Baby donkeys should be provided with dental care at least twice a year to address signs of dental diseases such as bad breath, dropping feed, drooling, and slow or reluctant feeding. Ensure that your donkeys don’t eat pellets too quickly to avoid colic. Avoid cereal-grain-based pellets and opt for fiber-based pellets. The amount of food a donkey eats per day depends on several factors, such as its weight, age, activity level, and overall health.

Groundnuts can contain a mould toxin to which equids are sensitive, so the cake is best avoided. Gram (Dolichos biflorus), sometimes called “field” or “horse” gram is another good protein source, which is available in many tropical countries for donkeys and can be fed without cooking. Faba, horse or broad beans (Vicia fabia) are legumes which contain approximately 25% crude protein. Many of the other beans, namely from the Phaseolus species (mung, navy, kidney, lima beans) need cooking to remove toxins before they are fed to equids, and so are less useful.

What do animals eat

Their diet consists mostly of grasses and hay, but they will also eat other vegetation like shrubs and leaves. However, when domestic donkey owners provide hay and other food sources, donkeys can be fed twice a day. Just like your horses, your donkeys will need a source of micronutrients, such as trace minerals, and vitamins to compliment their forage. Ration balancing supplements with a 3- to 4-ounce serving size are typically a better choice.

Oat straw contains a higher nutritional value, and wheat straw has a lower energy value but is high in fiber. The straw of all forms is nutritional to a donkey aside from linseed straw that contains poisonous seed. Their digestive system is also built to break down food efficiently.

It is also essential to moderate the amount of barley, wheat, and oats that are given to donkeys. Providing a balanced and varied diet will ensure their health and well-being. Donkeys may seem like ordinary herbivores, but their unique digestive system sets them apart from other animals. One of the main differences is in their ability to extract nutrients from fibrous plant material.

What do animals eat

Fresh green leafy legumes and grasses are good sources of the vitamins, so it is advisable to feed these in small amounts regularly to the donkey. Mineral and vitamin supplements are available which can be added to rations where donkeys have no access to fresh green plant material. They also like to eat fruits and vegetables as well as grains like oats and barley.

What do animals eat

The Donkey Sanctuary has found barley straw to be the best choice for healthy donkeys. Wheat straw is more fibrous and difficult to chew, making it less suitable for very young donkeys or donkeys with poor dentition. The best quality proteins, those that contain the greatest proportion of essential amino acids in the protein, are the animal proteins such as fishmeal. The legumes are the roughages which contain the greatest amounts of protein. The mature cereal straws and stovers contain very low amounts of protein.

During group feeding, donkeys are known for struggling to gain dominance. The dominant one kicks others away and prevents them from eating, especially during seasons when there are food shortages. Also, donkeys consume food more after working hours or when there is insufficient space to eat. Before you begin to feed them, invite a veterinary to address their dietary and dental issue to ensure that they receive proper nutrition.