Are Oats Good For Donkeys? Yes, oats are good for donkeys only if given in moderation. This is because too many oats can cause digestive issues. They are good for energy and provide essential nutrients including protein, vitamins, fiber, etc.
However, it is very essential to understand that a donkey’s diet should fundamentally contain grass or hay, and any extra feed should be given in small portions.
Moreover, donkeys need a lot of clean water and salt to maintain their well-being and health. Therefore, it is a very good idea to talk to the vet first to make sure that the donkey’s dietary requirements are fulfilled.
Here are a few health benefits associated with oats
1) Contain beta-glucan
- Oats are filled with beta-glucan. It is a type of soluble fiber.
- It partially dissolves in the water and forms a gel-like material.
- Its health benefits include – an increased feeling of fullness, reduced blood sugar level, lower insulin sensitivity, increased count of good bacteria in the intestine, etc.
- Beta-glucan helps the donkey fill full by reducing blood sugar levels and cholesterol.
2) High in nutrition
- Oats contain a lot of fiber and carbs which have a lot of strength.
- They are also high in fat and protein than most grains.
- Moreover, they are a good source of minerals, antioxidant plant components, and vitamins.
- In fact, a half-cup of oats includes Magnesium, Phosphorus, and manganese in a total of 34%. Other essential nutrients include iron, Copper, zinc, Calcium, folate, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B5, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), minerals (pantothenic acid), potassium, and vitamin B3 levels.
- This means that it offers 8 grams of fiber, 5 grams of fat, 13 grams of protein, and 51 grams of carbohydrates. Still, it is just 303 calories.
Basic rules of feeding a donkey
- Any change in the food plan must be carried out over 1 or 2 weeks.
- Donkeys are trickle feeders. Therefore, feed often and little.
- Say no to moldy or dusty feeds.
- Feed stuff must be of good quality.
- Decide the food regime according to the donkey’s weight, temperament, and age.
- Provide mineral lick or equine salt.
- Always provide clean water
- Donkeys usually like to eat often and little.
- Do not overfeed, it can make the donkey sick.
Common health problems associated with an inappropriate diet
- Be aware of the risks of laminitis (inflammation of the sensitive tissues in the hoof causing pain and lameness) from excessive consumption of grass or cereal-based feeds (stressed grass i.e. frosty conditions also increase the risk of laminitis). Donkeys are particularly at risk of this condition when the grass is lush and growing quickly. Fields which have been previously fertilised may pose a greater threat. Laminitis is a serious condition that requires urgent veterinary advice.
- Limit cereal (grain) based diets. In one study, donkeys that had been fed a diet including cereal-based concentrates were more likely to have gastric ulcers when compared to donkeys fed on a fibre concentrate or forage-only diet.
- Donkeys may also become obese on unrestricted grazing. The sensible use of fencing will enable you to control your donkey’s grass intake. Please keep your fence well maintained and check it regularly, moving as appropriate. The rotation of grazed areas can also be very useful in helping to control parasitic worms.
- Feeding cereal-based concentrates is generally not recommended due to the risk of health problems (unless specifically recommended by a veterinarian).
Things to keep in mind when feeding them oats
Oats contain a lot of phosphorus, however, contain a very low amount of calcium. To be precise, there is 0.3% of phosphorus and 0.07% calcium is present in oats. This can create a problem for donkeys as a lack of calcium can create deficiency.
Moreover, phosphorus in excess amounts prevents calcium absorption. If a donkey is 500 Kg and is not actively working needs 20 grams of calcium and 14 grams of phosphorus every day.
Harmful Foods or Poisonous Items for donkeys
There are certain things that can be harmful or even toxic to donkeys, including:
- Food items that contain molasses or sugar, such as cookies, bread, and doughnuts.
- Animal or dairy products.
- Certain trees, shrubs, and plants, including cherry, peach, plum, and red maple trees, as well as oak, black locust, black walnut, horse chestnut, elderberry, Japanese yew, oleander, foxglove, clover, and milkweed.
- Acorns and beans from mesquite trees.
- Certain fruits and vegetables, such as cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, and bok choy, nightshades like white and red potatoes, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant, and other items like leeks, garlic, avocado, and rhubarb.
In conclusion, I would say that oats are an excellent food for donkeys due to their high nutrient content. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and are also high in fiber and protein compared to other cereals. Oats also contain a unique type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan and antioxidants known as avenanthramides.
I hope you enjoyed the article. I will be back soon with more interesting and informative pieces of writing. Till then, stay connected. Thank you.
Frequently asked questions
The best straws for donkeys include oat straws or barley straws. Donkeys need a diet that is low in sugars, protein, calories, and carbs and high in fiber. You need to be careful with giving them access to grass.
It is better not to feed hay to donkeys with dental issues. The reason behind this is that the hay needs a lot of chewing and it may be tough for donkeys with dental problems. Therefore, it is better to give them chop, chaff, or grass pellets. These things need less chewing and are less choking.
Oat straw is a good option for underweight or old donkeys. The reason behind this is that oat straw has more nutrients than barley straw. On the other hand, wheat straw is low in energy and high in fiber. However, you can only feed it to donkeys with healthy teeth.
Even a small amount, as little as 20%, of black walnut in shavings, can be toxic to horses or donkeys. Ingestion of Red Maple (Acer rubrum) can also be harmful to horses and donkeys, as it can lead to the destruction of red blood cells and secondary kidney damage. The first visible sign of ingestion is usually red or dark-colored urine.
On average, a donkey will consume approximately 1.3-1.8% of its body weight per day in dry matter. For a 180 kg donkey, this translates to around 2-3 kg of dry matter per day.
Donkeys do not require regular grain in their diet if they are given enough straw, grass, or hay to meet their nutritional needs. However, if basic horse grain is offered, it should be kept to a minimum as it has been known to cause gastric ulcers in some donkeys.
Ground-feeding birds such as blackbirds, bluejays, cardinals, and sparrows enjoy eating raw oats.
It is generally recommended to eat no more than two servings of oatmeal per day. Eating too much oatmeal can cause digestive problems such as bloating and gas, as well as an increased risk of weight gain due to its high calorie content.