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Can Donkeys Eat Grapes?

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If you’ve been around donkeys long enough, then you know how much they love to eat fruit.

For most animals, fruit is like candy because they don’t get a lot of sugar in their diets. When they are offered something like an apple, a banana, or even sweeter treats like carrots, they’ll happily gobble up as much as they can.

But can donkeys eat grapes?

Donkeys can eat grapes, though they aren’t typically their favorite food. If you want to feed your donkey grapes, do your best to ensure they’re very ripe and juicy so they’re sweet.

Woman hand holding grapevines feeding a donkey

Also, you should watch your donkey closely after the first time you feed them grapes to see how it affects their stomach and digestion. If you notice any issues, you should avoid giving them more grapes in the future.

Here’s some helpful information on feeding donkeys grapes and other fruits your donkey will love if you’re looking for healthy treats to give them.

Donkey eating fruit from the ground

Donkeys Will Eat Anything Sweet

In general, donkeys aren’t picky eaters. They are primarily grazing animals and spend hours each day hunting for grass and hay with their heads down in fields.

So anytime donkeys come across something sweet like fruit, it’s an extraordinary treat.

Many donkeys, however, have a higher insulin sensitivity than other animals. This means they can react poorly when they overeat sugary foods.

In addition, grapes are a small, sweet fruit that can trigger higher blood sugar levels, so it’s important not to feed donkeys too many at one time.

And it doesn’t matter if it’s green grapes or red grapes, your donkey will love them!

Plenty of donkey owners use grapes and other fruit to spend quality time with their donkeys, incentivize certain behaviors, encourage them to eat more if they’re underweight, and for other reasons.

Bunches of ripe black grapes hanging from the vine in a vineyard

Feeding Your Donkey Grapes

Donkeys are very sturdy animals that don’t require handling with padded gloves. If you’ve got grapes you’d like to feed them, you can give your donkey the whole thing, stems and all.

Donkeys can eat grapes with seeds but watching how they react is essential. Some may get an upset stomach if they eat too many grape seeds.

Also, for anyone with grape vines on their property, you should find a way to close off access for your donkeys. Otherwise, they’ll eat all your grapes right off the vine.

One of the most excellent things about feeding donkeys grapes is that they already come in bite-sized portions. With other fruit like watermelons, bananas, and even apples, you should cut them up into smaller pieces to help make them easier to chew and swallow.

With grapes, all you have to do is hold one or two in your hand, and it’s the perfect size for a donkey’s mouth. Then, hold your hand flat and let the donkey do the rest.

donkey hid in the vineyard

Using Grapes to Incentivize Good Behavior

Are you dealing with a stubborn donkey that won’t do what you want? Unfortunately, you’ll not have much luck if you decide to wait for them to change their mind or use negative reinforcement tactics.

Donkeys can be notoriously stubborn animals, so you’re going to have to sweeten the pot if you want them to listen to you.

Donkey trainers use fruit like grapes to get donkeys to move to different areas. You can also feed donkeys a steady stream of grapes when a vet needs to check them out and they need to stand still for a while.

You can also cut grapes into tiny sections, mash them up, and mix them in with feed for when you change feed or your donkey refuses to eat for whatever reason.

Make sure you mash the grapes up well, though, because your donkey may only end up eating the grape bits.

Grapes are also a fantastic way to introduce your donkey to new friends. Sometimes donkeys can be a bit standoffish or even aggressive around new people.

However, donkeys are more likely to make fast friends with someone who has a handful of fruit. So just arm your friend with some grapes and have them stand calmly with a hand outreached.

Glass of fresh grape juice and fresh grapes on a rustic table

What Not to Do with Grapes

Is there anything you shouldn’t do when feeding a donkey grapes?

Well, the first thing you shouldn’t do is feed them any grape-flavored products.

Just because donkeys can eat whole grapes doesn’t mean they should be eating grape candy or anything like that. Those products have added sugars and other ingredients that may be harmful to your animals.

Also, avoid feeding donkeys grape juice. Even if it’s completely natural grape juice, there is just way too much sugar in a glass of juice compared to whole grapes.

Other than that, it would help if you watched your donkey to ensure they don’t react poorly to eating any grapes. Look out for any digestive issues or any other signs they’re sick.

If you see any hint of trouble, stop feeding your donkey grapes and refrain from giving them grapes down the road.

Grape Vines and Stems

Can donkeys eat grape vines and stems?

If you don’t mind them eating stems or vines, your donkeys can eat them without getting sick or anything. You don’t have to be very particular when you’re chopping up grapes to feed them.


Other Treats to Give Donkeys

If you’re worried about giving your donkey grapes, you can always stick to other reliable fruit treats like apples, pears, and bananas. They’re typically a lot more affordable than grapes, and they last longer on the shelf after you buy them.

Larger fruits are also usually easier to feed donkeys, and they’re more fun to feed them!

Of course, you might have to prepare by chopping them up into smaller pieces but hearing your donkey crunch through a juicy apple is very satisfying.

Final Thoughts

Just remember that any type of fruit, whether you’re giving your donkeys apples or grapes, should be an occasional treat. Feeding them too much fruit will affect how much they like their feed or the hay you give them.

Keep fruit to something that happens only every once in a while, and your donkey will see the fruit for the special treat that it is.