Bananas are a bit of a nontraditional equine treat.
People often see folks feeding horses and donkeys things like carrots, apples, and other crunchy foods. For whatever reason, carrots and apples have become the stereotypical snack for larger animals.
But what about bananas? Can a donkey eat a banana?
Donkeys can eat bananas, which are often much more affordable than some other fruits and vegetables donkeys love to eat. Donkeys will munch happily on as many bananas as you can give them. They’re healthy and full of antioxidants designed to keep your animals strong.
Here’s some helpful information about bananas and what you should know before you feed them any.
Snacks to Keep Your Donkey Healthy
Donkeys are incredibly robust animals.
They rarely get sick and, in general, are not picky eaters. They’ll typically eat anything you throw at them, though donkeys certainly have a soft spot for anything with sugar.
Donkeys are grazing animals, spending most days chomping on the grass in fields or chewing hay. However, lots of owners use bananas and other fruit to help train their animals.
If you’re trying to teach a donkey certain behaviors or get them used to a new enclosure, for example, then bananas may come in handy.
Mixing up your donkey’s diet is a great way to ensure they get the fiber and vitamins they need to stay strong. Bananas don’t have a lot of calories, so you don’t have to worry about overfeeding donkeys with them.
Bananas have loads of potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and even protein. They’re one of the best fruits you can give to your animal.
How to Feed Your Donkey Bananas
Donkeys will enjoy eating the peel and all, so there’s no need to take the peel off before you give it to them. But you should know that donkeys usually have an easier time eating bananas if they are chopped into smaller sections.
Whenever you feed donkeys treats, you should make the pieces small enough for easy bites.
Depending on the donkey, they could try to take down the entire banana in one bite, which can be hard to swallow or even be a choking hazard. On the other hand, your donkey could take a bite out of the banana and see the rest spill onto the ground, where it gets dirty and wasted.
Many banana-flavored products have a ton of added sugar and other ingredients that make them unhealthy for donkeys.
For example, don’t try to feed your donkey any leftover banana bread that’s full of sugar.
Maybe once in a while is OK, but too much sugar will make them overweight and trigger insulin sensitivity, which is an issue with many donkeys.
As a best practice, stick to raw bananas chopped in sections with the peels on. Then, your donkeys will still love them and get all of the nutrition and fiber of the natural fruit.
Using Bananas as an Incentive
Are you having trouble getting your donkey to move or eat its feed?
Bananas come in handy as a treat to get your donkey to do what you want them to. You can wave a piece of banana in their face to get them walking or mash the bananas in with their feed.
Sometimes sick donkeys have trouble with their diets. Or they’re picky eaters that don’t love it when you switch their regular food. Mashed bananas spread over their feed is a wonderful way to get them eating again.
Potential Concerns Feeding Donkeys Bananas
The main concern with feeding donkeys bananas is that they usually have a shorter shelf life than many other fruits. For instance, an apple or a watermelon will typically last much longer than a banana.
Once you purchase the bananas, you likely only have a few days before you need to eat them yourself or feed them to your donkey.
Avoid giving your donkey any rotten fruit. You can feed a donkey brown or bruised bananas, but don’t let them go too far before you feed them to your donkey.
Avoid giving them any fruit with signs of mold or rot on them.
Another thing you have to worry about is simply giving them too many bananas. While it’s hard to overload a donkey with bananas, they shouldn’t eat too much sugar.
Bananas or any other fruit should be an occasional treat rather than a regular thing.
A Note About Banana Leaves
Some people wonder whether donkeys can eat banana leaves. These animals are herbivores, so their digestive systems are capable of handling the leaves. Feed them to your donkey if you have some and see whether they like them.
Use Bananas to Help Friends Meet Your Donkey!
Donkeys are notoriously stubborn animals that don’t always do so well when introduced to strangers. Bananas, and other fruits like watermelon, apples, pears, etc., are fantastic ways to help your friends or any other visitors get up close with your animal.
Get your donkey’s attention with a piece of banana and bring them over to you. Feed them your piece while your friend watches with a piece in their hand.
Once you’re done feeding your banana section to your donkey, it’s your friend’s turn. By now, your donkey will likely get the message and stay calm while it eats some delicious treats.
Treats are a nice way to keep animals calm while meeting new people. Whether it’s a vet visit or a friend coming by to say “Hi,” a small piece of banana will do the trick!
You Can Usually Get a Great Deal on Bananas
Bananas are usually one of the most affordable fruits in the grocery store. They’re way cheaper than other fruits like cherries, berries, and other popular fruit.
So you can get a fantastic bargain by buying a large pile of bananas that will last for several days and then use them as treats for your donkeys.
As far as donkey treats go, bananas are a great choice.
If you want, you can mix banana sections with pieces of apple, carrot, and other foods. It’s easy to mix up the texture of what you’re giving your donkey while also giving them plenty of potassium, fiber, and essential vitamins.