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August 29, 2006

What do I feed my Donkey?

I recently received an email from a new donkey owner asking what to feed their new donkeys. I thought some of you might find this info useful too.

Question: What feed do you suggest (for donkeys) and how often are you suppose to feed?

Do you have your donkeys on pasture or dry lot? Mine are on dry lot some of the time, and when they are there (or in the winter time), I feed them grass hay twice a day, but when I have them out on grass pasture, as long as there is enough grass for them to eat, they don't need the hay because they are eating it fresh.

When feeding hay, I have found that my donkeys do best on good fresh grass hay (not moldy). I don't feed alfalfa hay or alfalfa/grass mix hay. The alfalfa is too rich for the donkeys, and will cause a variety of health problems. They do very well on the grass hay though.

I don't feed sweet feed or grain as a big part of their diet. The only grain that they get is a little plain whole oats. I use the oats as a training treat (a few kernels at a time). And if the donkey is overweight, I try to use something non-fattening instead, like chopped carrot or apple bits as treats.

I also have a supplement dish that I fix for them in addition to their dinner hay feeding. It has a balance of other items that give them some nutrients that the hay may not have. I don't always feed their supplement dish every day if I run out of time, but donkeys who are having other health problems (poor hooves, etc) tend to do much better if I am faithful in feeding it every day.

The supplement dish contains rehydrated beet pulp pellets, whole oats, carrots, apples, and Manna Pro Sho-Glo vitamins. For my 47" standard jennet, I feed the following mix:
1/2 cup dry beet pulp pellets rehydrated in 1 cup of hot water
After the beet pulp has soaked up all the water (usually after soaking about 15 minutes), I stir in:
1 cup whole oats
1 cup chopped carrot (a food processor works really nice for chopping this!)
1 cup chopped apple (run through the food processor too)
1/2 ounce Sho-Glo (they include a scoop in the bag, and I put 1/4 of a scoop in Elsie's bowl)

My mammoth donkeys get twice as much as my standard jennet, Elsie, and I would imagine miniature donkeys would probably get about half the size serving that Elsie gets. It's important to feed this mix in individual servings so that each donkey gets the amount they are supposed to and you don't have some eating more than their share. I usually separate my donkeys into different stalls or small pens to eat their supplement mix, although there are other people who tie all of their donkeys up instead. Usually after a couple weeks of doing this the donkeys learn where their spot is and are easy to separate for "dinner".

If your donkeys are over weight you can reduce the oats a bit. This mix is not a required diet for donkeys, but if you want a way to give them additional nutrients and vitamins, it works well and is balanced for their needs.

I also have brown salt/mineral blocks available for the donkeys at all times. And plenty of fresh water.

Kristie Jorgensen

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at August 29, 2006 03:04 PM



Posted by: JERRY SATTERFIELD at August 30, 2006 10:34 AM