Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > General > Can Donkeys Eat Watermelon? Health & Nutrition Facts

Can Donkeys Eat Watermelon? Health & Nutrition Facts

Can Donkeys Eat_watermelon

Donkeys love treats as much as anyone else. Who doesn’t want to give a donkey a delicious snack? As cute as donkeys are, we have to be careful with what we feed them because they have particular nutritional needs.

Thankfully, watermelon is a delicious donkey snack that’s both healthy and hydrating. Paired with a well-balanced diet, your donkey can enjoy a few watermelon treats every now and then.

To ensure we don’t leave any stone unturned, let’s review some nutritional requirements for donkeys and other delectable treats you can hoof divider

Donkeys Have Unique Nutritional Needs

Long ago, donkeys (Equus asinus) evolved to live in arid climates where the food is sparse and lacks nutrition.

Much of the food available was fibrous plant material. Since food wasn’t always available, donkeys learned to trickle feed, meaning they ate in small quantities throughout the day.

Donkeys still mimic this same eating behavior even thousands of years later. Because of their habits, the typical donkey diet should be high in fiber and low in calories, protein, and sugars. Straw and hay check all of these boxes.

Your donkey’s daily diet should look similar to the amounts listed below. The percentages listed are based on weight.

  • 75% barley
  • 25% hay or haylage
  • A vitamin or mineral balancer

These percentages will need to be adjusted if your donkey is sick, old, or pregnant.

Access to controlled pasture is OK, but donkeys can quickly become overweight, so it should be treated like a snack.

Bonus tip: Donkeys and horses are part of the Equidae family, but donkeys have different nutritional needs than horses, so they require separate care.

donkey standing on grassy field
Image By: Dendoktoor, Pixabay

Benefits of Feeding Your Donkey Watermelon

Donkeys love barley and hay, but it doesn’t hurt to offer some variety in their diet. Watermelon is an excellent snack for a few reasons.

First, the fruit is low-calorie, so your donkey can enjoy it without gaining too much weight. The rind provides a delightful crunch that donkeys often want. Plus, it’s a sweet treat and hydrating during the brutal summer months.

How Much Watermelon Can My Donkey Eat?

Although watermelon is delicious and low-calorie, the sweet fruit can be too sugary for donkeys if you feed them too much. It’s best to only offer a couple of pieces of fruit or vegetable daily to your donkey.

watermelon slices
Image By: Joanna Kosinska, Unsplash

Other Fruits and Vegetables Donkeys Enjoy

Watermelon isn’t the only way to treat your donkey. Carrots, apples, pears, turnips, and bananas have been given the donkey stamp of approval. Citrus fruits, berries, pineapple, squash, celery, and beets are also good treats packed with nutrition.

What Can Donkeys Not Eat?

Here’s a list of foods to never feed your donkey. Since donkeys have a special diet, it helps to inform your neighbors of this list in case they want to give your donkey a treat.

  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Potatoes
  • Anything from the brassica family (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, etc.)
  • Chocolate
  • Moldy or rotten food
  • Fermented foods
  • High-sodium items
  • Grass clippings
two donkeys in the meadow
Image By: vvvita, Shutterstock



Donkeys are sweet, mild-mannered creatures with specific nutritional and living needs. Before you offer your donkey a treat, ensure you research that donkeys can eat the food.

In this post, we covered the basics of donkey nutrition so you can have a good grasp on the basics of donkey nutrition. Now, your donkey can enjoy more than just a delicious piece of watermelon.

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets