Donkeys may have a solid reputation for being stubborn, but they are also very intelligent and even sweet, lovable, and gentle with their humans. It’s no wonder you are looking for some delicious fresh treats to spoil your adorable burro, but it’s always advised to check into certain foods to make sure they’re safe for consumption.
Many fresh fruits and vegetables make excellent treats for donkeys and strawberries are an excellent choice. Donkeys can eat strawberries, but as with any treat, strawberries should only be fed to donkeys in small amounts and in moderation. Keep reading to learn more about what makes strawberries a great treat and some other dos and don’ts when it comes to feeding your donkey.
Benefits of Strawberries
Not only do strawberries add a colorful variety to your donkey’s typical diet, but they are also low in calories and packed full of beneficial vitamins and nutrients. Strawberries can even be used as a reward when training your donkey since they are tasty and packed full of health benefits.
As with any treat, moderation is key and your donkey won’t need more than a handful of strawberries to get the benefits of them. It’s recommended to feed them organic or wild strawberries that are grown without the use of pesticides, if possible. Here are some of the reasons why strawberries make such an excellent treat.
If your donkey is in the process of recovering from an illness that has led to a decreased appetite, a few strawberries are a great way to help encourage eating. A healthy appetite is very important to your donkey’s health, so if they ever need a little encouragement, some fresh, tasty strawberries may be the way to go.
Limits Excess Calories
Pet donkeys that don’t have a regular job to do are more prone to becoming overweight, especially if they are overfed. Your typical healthy donkey won’t need any excess calories. Unlike some other fruits, strawberries are very low in calories and sugar content, making them an excellent choice.
Rich in Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants
Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, folate, and vitamin K. Their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects are great for heart health, cognitive function, immunity, and overall health.
Great Source of Fiber
Strawberries are a great source of fiber, with about 3 grams per cup1, which makes them excellent for digestive health. While strawberries should only be fed in small amounts and in moderation as a supplement to their regular diet, they’re an excellent fruit choice because donkeys have high-fiber, low-sugar dietary needs.
Assists with Hydration
Strawberries are approximately 91% water, making them a very hydrating treat. Hydration is important to all living beings and while nothing can replace the need for water, fresh, hydrating treats that are low in calories and rich in other nutrients are definitely a plus.
Other Suitable Treats for Donkeys
Strawberries aren’t the only suitable treat you can pick out of your garden or grab from the kitchen. There are plenty of other treats that your donkey can enjoy, but remember they are only suitable in moderation. Here’s a list of some of the most popular fruit and veggie snack ideas for the jacks and jennies in your life:
Not only are carrots2 rich in vitamins A, C, and K1 but they are also a great source of fiber, potassium, and antioxidants while being low in calories.
There are plenty of health benefits3 associated with bananas. Not only are they rich in potassium but they are also a great source of vitamin B6, fiber, magnesium, vitamin C, and manganese, which are all essential parts of a donkey’s diet.
Donkeys very much enjoy the sweet taste of apples. They are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, rich in water content, and packed full of vitamin C and other phytochemicals. They are much higher in calories and sugar content, so only feed in very small amounts and cut them properly to prevent choking.
Like strawberries, raspberries are another low calorie, low sugar fruit that also has the sweet taste that donkeys love. Raspberries are nutrient-dense, hydrating, and full of vitamin C, manganese, and fiber.
Watermelons are a very hydrating fruit with flesh that is easy to chew. Not only are they nearly 92% water, but they are also full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also a donkey’s favorite because of their sweet taste.
Pumpkins make a safe treat for donkeys and they can consume all parts including the flesh, seeds, and skin. Pumpkin is an incredible source of fiber, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, folate, and pantothenic acid. They also contain vitamins A, E, C, and B-6.
Oranges are known for being a fantastic source of vitamin C, but they have plenty of other benefits, too. They are rich in fiber, folate, and many other nutrients and antioxidants. They also contain nearly 86% water, so they are great for hydration.
Another citrus fruit that makes a sweet, suitable treat for donkeys is grapefruit. They are full of nutrients, rich in fiber, and have a lot of water content. They have many of the same benefits as oranges but are lower in sugar content.
Another delicious, sweet treat for donkeys is grapes. They should only be fed in small amounts because they have a high sugar content, but they do have health benefits like vitamin C, and K, and many antioxidants. Grapes are also very hydrating thanks to their high water content.
Similar to pumpkin, butternut squash is another member of the gourd family that makes a nutritious treat for donkeys. It is rich in fiber and a variety of other nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium.
Celery is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits and for aiding digestion. Celery has a very low glycemic index and is very high in water content.
Another low-calorie, nutrient-dense vegetable that makes a great snack for donkeys is turnips. They are also rich in essential nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin K.
Fresh Mint Leaves
Mint has been used for centuries in traditional human medicine for its wide range of benefits, including aiding with digestive and brain health. Donkeys do love the taste of fresh mint leaves, so offering them some in moderation is a great way to treat them every once in a while.
Donkeys will have no trouble foraging for blackberries if they are available in the pasture and this is another berry that makes a fantastic treat. The berries, leaves, and branches will all be up for grabs. Blackberries are low in sugar, high in fiber, and full of vitamins and minerals.
Donkey Diet Basics
A donkey’s diet should consist primarily of high-quality barley straw. Oat straw is also acceptable, but barley is considered the best option. These animals have high fiber needs but need very little protein, sugar, starches, and other carbohydrates.
Access to grass should be restricted because of an increased risk of developing a metabolic disorder known as laminitis due to the high sugar content in grass. They are also at risk of hyperlipidemia and becoming overweight due to excessive grazing.
Important Feeding Tips
Donkeys can most definitely snack on a few delicious strawberries as a special treat. Not only are they low in calories and sugar, but they are also high in water content and rich in fiber and nutrients. As with any other treat, they should only be given in smaller amounts and in moderation to supplement their normal feeding regimen.