We’ve all seen plenty of shows and movies depicting horses and donkeys munching on carrots and apples.
But what about other fruits? Things can get complicated once you move away from their staple foods and treats, so it’s nice to know whether feeding them something different is safe.
Can donkeys eat strawberries?
Donkeys can safely eat strawberries. They’ll probably love it when you offer them some!
Strawberries are an excellent, sweet fruit full of juice that donkeys typically prefer over many other fruits and vegetables. But, as always, feeding fruit to your donkeys should be as an occasional treat rather than something that happens daily.
Knowing what to feed a donkey and when will keep your animals healthy and avoid any digestive problems. The right fruits and vegetables will help you bond with a donkey and can even help with behavioral training.
Here are some of the benefits of feeding your donkeys strawberries and other strawberry-related things you should know.
Why Donkeys Love Strawberries
Donkeys like strawberries for the same reasons humans do: the perfect strawberry delivers a beautiful balance of sweetness and tartness in a single bite.
Strawberries are a lovely summer fruit that keeps you feeling cool when it’s hot outside.
Your donkey also loves anything sweet because their typical hay and straw diet is so bland.
But they need straw and hay because they have such high fiber requirements. Also, a regular diet of hay keeps things moving in their digestive tract.
Whenever you feed your donkey strawberries, it’s like candy to them. They’ll come running over to where you are and eat them until you stop offering.
Do Donkeys Eat Strawberry Plants?
If you have strawberries growing in your garden, you’d better fence them off from any donkeys in the area. Donkeys, along with almost every other animal around, will try to get to the strawberries once they’re ripe enough.
Donkeys will rummage through your garden for every berry they can find, taking plenty of leaves and strawberry stalks along with them.
How Often Should You Feed Donkeys Strawberries?
How often you give your donkeys strawberries depends on your relationship with them, their overall health, and how active they are.
Gaining too much weight from eating human food is a recurring issue for many donkeys and horses, particularly if they aren’t very active.
If you have a donkey that works on a working farm, they can typically eat a lot more strawberries because they burn so many calories daily.
However, pet donkeys or donkeys living on a homestead to ward off potential predators may not be getting as much exercise.
Sedentary donkeys should usually get a treat around once per week.
Of course, how often you feed them fruits will also depend on how much you give them. One or two strawberries more than once a week is perfectly fine.
Introduce New Foods Slowly
Anytime you give your donkey new foods, you should do it slowly to monitor how they react. In most cases, strawberries are safe, like apples, carrots, and other similar treats.
Still, you should avoid giving them a lot at once because they may not react well. The last thing you want is to have to call the vet because you fed your donkey too many strawberries.
If your donkey regularly eats blueberries, apples, celery, etc., strawberries shouldn’t cause a problem.
Most fruits are full of vitamins and minerals that are good for your donkey in moderation. They also have high levels of antioxidants to boost their immune systems.
Problems with Overfeeding
One of the main risks of feeding your donkey too much sugar or rich foods is that they won’t want to return to what they eat daily. If that happens, you could encounter bigger problems.
If, for example, your donkeys become too dependent on your handouts, they could lose weight because they have no interest in eating straw all day.
You’ll also likely spend more money than you’d like on fruits if your donkeys rely on regular snacks from you. Strawberries and other fruits fluctuate in price based on season, so they’re not always a bargain at the store.
If you’re farming strawberries, you know that you’ll only have them for a few months a year.
Another issue with overfeeding is that your donkey could gain too much weight and develop related health issues.
This is a frequent challenge for donkey owners on homesteads or small farms where children constantly want to feed them treats.
Sometimes, the smaller the donkey, the easier it is for them to gain weight. However, many miniature donkey owners struggle with obesity and how to get diets right to keep their animals healthy.
What Else Can Donkeys Eat?
Usually, donkeys are strong animals with healthy stomachs. Not that much will make them sick as long as they don’t have too much of anything.
The main thing to avoid is giving them too much sugar or rich foods that deter them from their normal diet.
Donkeys should also never eat stone fruits because the pits can cause stomach and digestion problems. One peach probably won’t cause any issues but keep a close watch to ensure they’re OK after eating it.
After that, feeding them any fruit or vegetable you can find is typically safe.
Donkeys love watermelon, cantaloupe, pears, apples, carrots, celery, potatoes, and anything else they can scrounge up. But, of course, they’ll like it even more if you feed it to them by hand.
Keep treats as an occasional thing.
Also, some donkeys become quite aggressive when there is fruit on offer, so strawberries may not be the best fruit for friends or children to hand feed. The small fruit means that donkeys must get very close to bite down on them, which could hurt fingers and hands.
To stay safer, you can chop strawberries up and put them in a bowl for your donkey to eat from. This keeps donkey teeth away from any hands and prevents other people from dropping strawberries on the ground because they’re nervous.