Can Donkeys Eat Apples? Feeding Tips

Fall is approaching and you are probably going to consume fresh apples for various health reasons. But isn’t it cruel to not let your pets have it? They need nutrition as much as we do. We have seen apples being fed to horses, goats, and even cows but what about donkeys? Is this nutritional powerhouse safe for them?

Apple, a healthy autumn fruit, is rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Apple symbolizes health, beauty, love, and fertility.

A medium-sized apple is said to be the source of 5 grams of fiber. This free in fat fruit lowers the risk of diabetes, cancer, tooth decay, and strokes in humans.

If I start listing down the benefits of this fruit I will probably get distracted from our main topic as no one in today’s world is unaware of the benefits of making apples a part of their daily life. So let’s get to today’s topic.

Can Donkeys Eat Apples?

Can donkeys eat apples? Yes, donkeys eat apples. Apples are actually a significant part of the pet donkeys’ diet in some parts of the world. They have been fed as a treat and to fulfill the nutritional requirements of pet donkeys.

Treat or staple item?

It is better to be fed as a treat. As donkeys are grazing animals and the best staple items for them are grass and barley straws. Barley straws are recommended to be the main part of their diet. Having them(barley straws) on a daily basis can surprisingly boost their overall health.

Benefits of Feeding Apples to Donkeys

Let’s go through the list of vitamins and minerals first before discussing it in detail.

So the vitamins and minerals are:

  • Folic acid
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Sodium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C

And they perform the following functions:

Folic Acid

Folic acid promotes the production of red blood cells and helps in treating the folate deficiency in both humans and animals like horses, goats, and donkeys.


Calcium is needed by animals as much as it is needed by humans for reproductive purposes. Besides reproduction, it helps in bone development and nutrient absorption in animals.


Donkeys need iron to make hemoglobin( a protein molecule responsible for delivering oxygen to the body). It also helps in treating anemia.


Zinc promotes health in several ways. It assists in boosting immunity thus bringing the immune system into the state that it can fight bacteria and viruses.


Cooper when combined with iron, helps in red blood cell formation and it’s healthy functioning. It is an essential nutrient to keep the bones, blood vessels, nerves, and immune system in good health.

benefits of feeding apple to donkey


Like copper, it is also needed to keep a few functions running. It helps in maintaining blood sugar levels and blood pressure buildup in humans as well as in animals.


Manganese is required by the body to lighten the effect of damage caused by the free radicals in horses and donkeys. Besides this main function, it actively helps in metabolizing fats and carbohydrates.  


Phosphorus aids in building a stronger skeleton and enzyme system. In fact, all plants and animals need phosphorus for their cell development, DNA, and lipids.


The role of potassium in the body can never be neglected we all know but it becomes even more significant for pets like donkeys due to several reasons. It aids in the healthy functioning of muscle activity, nerves, and metabolism. It also gives the strength to fight cardiovascular diseases.


Selenium develops resistance against several diseases. Though donkeys do not need selenium as much as horses do, this does not cut down its importance for pet donkeys. Their average selenium need is somewhere between 0.02-0.14 ug/mL.


Donkey is among some grazing animals that need sodium in large quantities. As most of them are seen suffering from salt deficiency and this is because they lick, eat, and chew dirt and objects that should not be eating. They are even made to lick the salt block to fulfill this deficiency. So, apples are somewhat supplying sodium to your pet donkeys.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A performs similar functions in donkeys as in horses. It performs the groundwork for the immune system and reproductive function. It also aids in maintaining vision in donkeys and horses.

Vitamin B1, B6, B2

These vitamins promote digestion. The deficiency of these vitamins can never be judged but it will bring the overall health of your donkey down.

Vitamin C

You and I, even kids know how important vitamin C is for humans and animals. All species on earth need regular vitamin C consumption for improved immune system and maintenance of circulating levels.

In short, these vitamins and minerals are needed by your pet to live a balanced, healthy life. And it’s better to give them this way than the inorganic way.

apples for donkey

How Often Should You be Feeding Apples to Your Pet Donkey?

It’s okay for donkeys to have one apple a day or every other day. Having an apple every other day is seen as helping in stimulating appetite in animals like donkeys and horses.

The right way to introduce apples

Introducing new things to animals is a hard nut to crack even if they are eating everything they find on their way.

The right way to feed anything new, not just apples, is to make it a part of the meal gradually. You have probably heard of this rule of introducing things gradually but ever wondered why?

These animals are not as strong as humans are. Consuming something new in a noticeable quantity for the first time may make you visit the vet. Chop the apple in cubes and add a few of the cubes to their veggie salad to kick start the apple feeding routine. Gradually increase the quantity but keep in mind you can only feed one apple a day.

Feed them in the pot

Yes, you should put the chopped apple in their feeding spot. Feeding them directly from your hands is going to encourage the biting habit.

Feed them chopped

Donkeys are fussy eaters as we all know. It’s better to feed vegetables and fruits sliced. To minimize the risk of being choked by an apple it is advised to chop them off in cubes or sticks. Cubes and sticks are both fine as fruits and veggies just have to be chopped.

Never feed a large amount of treats which can cause a digestive issues in donkeys.

What Can and Can not be Mixed with Apples for Nutritional Purposes?

You can mix other fruits and veggies to make one hell of a nutritional treat once in a while. This is what you can combine with apples to satisfy their taste buds.

  • Carrots
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Turnips
  • Swedes

but do not mix it with

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Potatoes

Or anything from the brassica family.

Feed with or without peel

You can feed with or without feed. Even only peel is good for donkeys as it is thin and easy to crunch. Apple peel is rich in fibers so you are feeding extra nutrition to donkeys. Make sure to wash apples with water to the prevention of toxins and chemicals.

Donkeys can eat a whole apple and take bites from large ones. You should feed in two parts as large apples can cause lodging in the throat.

Different Ways to feed Apple to Donkeys

That is fun to prepare apples for your donkey. Here are some ways that can help you in feeding apples.

  • Add chopped apples in a bran mash
  • Prepare a baked treat
  • Frozen apple licks like preparing in ice cream jars


Can Miniature donkeys eat apples?

Yes, Miniature donkeys are the same as donkeys in the digestive system. They can eat apples as a treat. The amount of food or treat depends on the size and age of the donkeys.

Can Donkeys eat apple seed?

Yes Donkeys can eat apple seed, core and peel

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Apples are as good for donkeys as they are for us and for horses and goats etc. They can eat an apple on a daily basis but the quantity should remain one apple a day. Add apples gradually to their diet if they have never tasted apples before to keep their little tummy healthy. You might have heard “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” same goes for the pet donkeys.


Hi, I am Waqar and active in the horse world since 2012. I have MSc (Hons) in Agriculture from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. I love to solve equine health care issues and note down in the form of research papers. I have written hundreds of equine health care, accessories, names, and history-related blogs. My equine related work is watering a lot of horse-related magazines and blogs.

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