Obesity in Donkeys 2017-01-15T00:19:55+00:00

Obesity in Donkeys

Avoiding Obesity in Donkeys


• Overfeeding a donkey or feeding it the wrong diet can be fatal.

• Overfeeding can result a crippling disease called laminitis of the hooves.

• Obesity is also a consequence of overfeeding.

• Once obese it is difficult to get a donkey back to normal weight  because they require so few calories to sustain themselves.
Moreover, it is more difficult to find a home for an obese donkey.

So keeping your donkey in good shape is essential to ensuring that your donkey can find a new home if it can no longer live with you.



(Above) A beautiful 8 year old red-roan standard gelding donkey in perfect weight.

(Lower photos) After 24 months of being fed alfalfa and grain by a thoughtless owner the donkey became 60 pounds overweight, with a fat neck, fat rump and fat pads on his side.

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Donkeys originated in northern Africa. They are easy keepers who are not designed to eat rich foods.

Donkeys NEED

1. Clean, fresh water all the time
2. Low protein, non-moldy GRASS hay. Don’t worry about the weeds.  They may love them.  Donkeys particularly love Brome, Timothy, Bermuda  and Crested wheat hay.  Avoid Oat hay.

3.  Fresh grass in the spring when it is high in moisture and protein should be limited to avoid laminitis and excessive weight gain.  Increased grazing is usually safe from July through March.


ALFALFA should not be fed to a donkey as a regular part of their diet, except when treating a specific medical  condition under a veterinarian’s direction.

GRAIN should not be part of the daily diet unless being fed for a specific medical
condition or to enhance the diet of a foal, pregnant jennet or geriatric donkey.

Be a good consumer.  Get a grain that is specifically designed to treat the condition you are addressing.   Avoid sweet mixes of corn, barley and oats that provide calories only.


3. A mineral block or lick will provide the donkey with all essential minerals that are absent from the water or hay.

4. Sweets and other carb treats should be limited. Carrots, Apples are both high in carbohydrates.   SPOIL THEM WITH ATTENTION NOT FOOD.