Are Apples Bad For Donkeys? (Answered)

by Kloee Ngozi
Updated on

Apples are not only beneficial to humans but also to animals. Apples are not bad for donkeys, in fact they have health benefits for donkeys when given to them properly.

You can give your donkeys apples and other fruits regularly as treats. Donkeys love food and will eat almost anything you give them. However they love apples even more and will not hesitate to eat it from your hands when you feed.

You should however stick to giving your donkeys apples as a treat rather than a staple diet. 

If you’re planning to introduce apples to your donkey’s diet then this article will explain the health benefits of apples, how many apples you should give your donkeys and the proper way to feed them donkeys.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Apples To Donkeys?

Are Apples Bad For Donkeys

Apples are very beneficial to donkeys. It is high in fiber, minerals and vitamins.

A good reason you should give your donkeys apples is that they love treats and would get to love you more for it. 

Other than that however, the health benefits of apples are numerous and we will examine a few briefly:

  • Vitamins 

Apples contain quite a number of vitamins including Vitamins A, B, C, D and E.

These vitamins help the donkey’s immune and reproductive systems.

They also improve eyesight and digestion for your donkey and generally help them live a healthy life.

  • Calcium 

Donkeys require calcium as much as humans do. Apples provide donkeys with calcium which will help their bone and tooth formation and development.

  • Iron 

Iron is an essential mineral that the donkeys require. Apples give the donkeys iron nutrients which will help them produce haemoglobin for oxygen production and circulation within their body system.

  • Folic Acid

Folic acid helps the rapid development of red blood cells in donkeys. Red blood cells carry oxygen all through the body and apples can balance the required amount of folic acid needed.

  • Potassium

Apples provide donkeys with the right amount of potassium needed. Potassium is significant for donkey’s development for healthy muscles, nerves and also helps them to combat cardiovascular diseases.

Other nutrients provided by apples to donkeys include Selenium, Copper, Zinc, Magnesium to mention a few.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on do donkeys kill snakes?

How Many Apples Can A Donkey Eat A Day?

If you give your donkey ten apples a day they will gladly eat it up.

Donkeys love treats and can eat a variety of foods ranging from carrots, watermelons, bananas, biscuits, pears and peppermints to mention a few.

Giving your donkeys too many treats at once can cause them to have colic and if they also get overly used to the treats, they become ill tempered and aggressive when you don’t present it to them as soon as they see you. In other words, they become spoiled.

Giving your donkeys one apple a day will help improve their appetite and while also giving them a dose of the treats they love.

Some farm keepers prefer to keep at one apple every other day as they feel one apple a day is too much while some even limit it further to once a week.

The regularity of the treats is based on your discretion and you should also take into consideration the age of your donkey, weight, condition and it’s temperament.

A typically ill tempered donkey might get more stubborn and ill tempered when you do not present them with their favorite treat.

Can Donkeys Eat Too Many Apples?

Even though donkeys need apples, they are known for gaining weight easily especially when they have been eating a lot of treats.

When donkeys get too overweight they are predisposed to serious health conditions which include but are not limited to joint issues, liver disease, metabolic problems to mention a few.

They can especially gain weight fast if they are in cool areas with abundant grass for them to eat.

Giving your donkey too many apples or other treats as we have said earlier will cause it to exhibit aggressive behavior when he doesn’t get them.

Due to this you have to watch the amount of treats you give them even if they are apples.

Also check out this article I wrote on do donkeys protect sheep?

Can Horses Eat Apples Whole?

Yes, horses eat apples whole when they are fed.

For bigger bites, they will take bites out of it till they can for the rest into their mouth while they just take smaller apples into their mouth at once and chew it to break it down.

Giving horses apples whole is a popular way through which horse owners feed apples to their horses.

Sometimes though it might be detrimental to the horse if they swallow too fast without breaking the apple down.

The apple will get stuck in the horse’s throat and might even require a trip to the veterinarian’s.

This problem can be easily avoided by helping the horse cut up the apple into smaller pieces.

They are able to chew it well and it is safer for the horse.

It is also safer for horses with teething problems to have their apples broken down. Due to the crunchy nature of apples, a horse with teeth issues might get hurt chewing the apples.

You can learn about the different ways to feed your horse his apples without giving him whole.

Can They Eat The Seeds?

Horses can eat apples, body, core, seeds and all. They are able to eat the seeds however too much of it can be detrimental to the apples.

Apple seeds contain amygdalin which when chewed will turn into hydrogen cyanide.

Hydrogen cyanide has been discovered to be highly toxic and can cause a range of problems such as coma, severe poisoning, paralysis and death. 

Hydrogen cyanide exhibits all these problems because it is capable of stopping cells in the body from utilizing energy and we all know how important oxygen is to the body.

It is not usually considered much of a problem however since it usually takes a 200 pound person eating 270 seeds to get hydrogen cyanide poison.

This means that horses will also have to eat quite a considerable amount of apple seeds to be affected. 

If the apple a day ration is kept to or when mixed with other vegetables or treats then the chances of your horse getting affected by the hydrogen cyanide is pretty low.

Can Donkeys Eat Apple Cores?

Donkeys will eat apple cores, seeds and everything that comes across their path.

Some farm keepers have reported that their donkeys eat the apple cores and poop it out with the same shape.

Apple cores do not necessarily pose a threat to the donkeys.

You can help your donkey’s digestion by cutting the apples into small chunks and mixing it with other treats.

When introducing apples to your donkeys, don’t just give them outright.

Give them a few chunks at first and if they are fine throughout that day then you can safely introduce apples to their diet.

It is better for the donkeys if apples are a treat and not a staple diet.

The donkey’s staple diet should be confined to hay and barley as this contains the necessary ingredients they require to grow and develop.

Can Donkeys Eat Applesauce?

Applesauce is a great way to give your donkey a dinner treat.

If you do not want to give the donkey the apple whole or just want to give it a different taste  or something special then applesauce or apple puree is a great way to go about it.

Your donkey will slurp it up and will definitely love you the more for it.

Applesauce is quite the favorite with donkeys and horses also and helps the animals that usually choke on apples or have tooth problems.

Applesauce is also used to tempt donkeys that have been refusing food or those who have been fussy.

Some farm keepers report that adding it on top of their feed usually encourages them to eat up.

You can easily store your applesauce around for some time without fear of spoiling and if you buy the sugar free type, then you have no fear of your donkeys adding weight. 

How To Prepare Apples For Donkeys?

Apart from regularly cutting up your donkey’s apples into chunks or cubes for easy consumption and digestion, there are other ways you can prepare the apples for your pet donkey.

Mixing different vegetables which are beneficial to the apples can also come as a form of treat, carrots, apples, and other veggies can be cut and sliced into their feed pot and served.

Apple and carrot treats which would also include cinnamon, molasses and or applesauce is also a great way to treat your donkey.

These additions would also sweeten up the treat for your donkey.

Applesauce or applepuree also helps donkey develop an healthy appetite. It can be served alone or added on their feed, they will eat it up anyway.


Donkey and horse treats are ways you can easily get your pets affection, however just like every other thing they require moderation.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away as we all know and extending this rule to your pets will help provide them with needed nutrients that will help their growth and development.

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About the author

Kloee Ngozi

Kloee is a backyard farmer and avid gardener who enjoys tending to her garden and plants. She is so engrossed with her plants that she has pet names for all of them. She likes to relax with a bottle of wine and read a book.


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