Can Donkeys Eat Clover? (Answered)

by Kloee Ngozi
Updated on

Yes, donkeys can eat clover. A donkey’s daily dietary needs can be met with clover as a forage or feed source that provides appropriate protein, energy, and fiber.

In many cases, it’s included in hay mixtures. Three distinct clover varieties grow on a donkey’s pasture: Red Clover, White Clover, and Alsike Clover.

Most people believe clover is harmful to donkeys and all other animals. That’s not the case, however.

It’s safe if it’s wholesome and fresh. Mold and other fungi, on the other hand, pose a serious threat.

The donkeys can eat the Clover plant if they are closely monitored.

Clover Poisoning can occur if the clover is infected with mold and fungus. The moldy clover can also spread to the hay.

What Are the Health Benefits of Clover to Donkeys?

Can Donkeys Eat Clover

Clover contains a lot of nutrients that can be beneficial to these animals that are not properly fed.

  • It is a source of important nutrients. Cloves are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and thus adding whole or crushed cloves to your dish can supply some essential elements.
  • It contains a high concentration of antioxidants. Apart from carrying a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, cloves are also high in antioxidants.

However, clover also has negative effects on animals. 

If you do not keep an eye out for moldy clover in the pasture where the donkey is grazing, the donkey may develop health concerns such as

  • Slobbers. This is a common sign that indicates that your animal has eaten an affected clover. Your animal starts to drool. This is well-known with red clover.
  • Liver Damage. Long-term exposure to contaminated clover can cause liver damage, the most serious hazard. It is also referred to as a “large liver syndrome,” The liver continues to deteriorate over time.

The liver is swiftly harmed by a variety of poisons found in clover. In addition, due to liver scarring or cirrhosis, the cell in the liver continues to die.

  • Bleeding. Eating moldy white and yellow sweet clover causes bleeding. White and Yellow Sweet Clover is uncommon in pastures and hay fields, but it can be found along roadsides and in older hay fields.

Here is a complete guide I wrote on what do donkeys eat

How Often Should I Feed Them Clover?

The best way to feed your donkey’s clover is to make it a treat. However, giving them in excess is detrimental to their health.

So it is best to give them in small quantities.

As a result, it is better to give them in tiny amounts. Too much can cause different issues. So owners should watch out for the clovers in their hay pasture.

Can Mini Donkeys Eat Clover?

The high amount of protein in this vegetable makes it not ideal for mini donkeys to eat.

So just like every other supplement, it is best to feed these animals in small quantities.

Can Donkeys Eat Clover Hay?

Clover hay is a good source of protein for donkeys, so they can consume it.

However, overconsumption might lead to health problems. So, a small amount as a treat every now and again is fine.

Can Donkeys Eat White Clover?

Yes, donkeys can eat white clover. White clover provides no danger to your donkey and, when consumed in moderation, may even be helpful to them.

Occasionally, a fungus known as the black patch is detected in white clovers, which can be harmful in big amounts.

Regularly inspect your field for these, which can be identified by black dots on the leaves and stems.

Things to Watch Out For Before Feeding Them Clover?

  • Considerations such as the time of year and climate must also be taken into account while feeding donkeys clover.
  • When the temperature rises above 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity rises above 60%, clover is prone to mold. Check the pasture for moldy clover during periods of wet weather and high humidity, as it can contaminate hay as well.
  • Fence out donkeys from the clover-rich field, mow clover strands and enhance the water drainage system to prevent the donkeys from eating diseased clover. Prevent clover growth in the pasture by spraying it with a herbicide or employing these other methods to keep mold from growing on the clover.
  • In donkey pastures, three species of clover are most commonly found.
  • These come in white, red, and alsike colors. Sweet clover, on the other hand, is far less common in pastures than the other two. In roadside hay combinations, sweet clover is seeded as a soil stabilizer, making it more common.
  • Because it can withstand tight grazing, white clover is the most popular variety of clover in donkey pastures. White clover is safe for your donkey, and it can even be beneficial if consumed in the correct doses.
  • Large amounts of a fungus called black patch, sometimes found in white clovers, can be problematic. These can be identified by the black patches on the leaves and stems of the plants.
  • This is also similar to red clover. Although the plants themselves are perfectly harmless for your donkey, the fungus that causes it can infect the plants as well. In appearance, red clover is nearly identical to white clover, except for the color of the bloom, red.
  • Among the three clover varieties, Alsike is the only one that has dark pink blooms at the bottom and light pink blossoms at the tip. Only Alsike can cause more significant complications in donkeys: photosensitivity and enlarged liver syndrome.
  • The black patch fungus, which can infect white or red clover, is the primary cause of concern.
  • Although it is mostly harmless, Slaframine, a toxin found in this fungus, it can cause a few minor problems in donkeys. However, if you can, you should try to get rid of the black patch on your clovers.
  • The true problem plant is Alsike. Donkeys suffer from photosensitization caused by a toxin in Alsike clover that has not yet been identified. This condition causes the skin to die and slough off after being exposed to the sun for a long time. A reaction to anything the donkey has consumed, such as alsike clover, is the most common cause. A disorder is known as “big liver syndrome” is rather self-explanatory.
  • A disease in which the liver grows in response to an ingested substance has been documented among donkeys who consume Alsike. So if your donkey’s pasture is infested with Alsike, you’ll need to get rid of it. 

Also check out this article I wrote on can donkeys eat cabbage?

How Can I Feed Clover To My Donkeys?

Clover is a good source of energy, protein, and fiber for most donkeys, making it a good option for a donkey’s diet.

Clover can be used in hay and pastures. Generally, it grows in a meadow or other open area frequented by livestock.

However, if you’re feeding these animals instead of allowing them to graze in a field, that’s a different story.

Prior to feeding them, be sure to look for mold. You’ll thank yourself later for checking.


For the most part, clover poses no danger to your donkey. There is no danger in eating white and red clover, but they can lead to small digestive issues and a harmless overflow of saliva. On the other hand, Alsike is a significant threat to your donkey’s health and well-being.

It’s possible to avoid internal bleeding, but even if you do, you’re still likely to experience colic, diarrhea, and even death as a result of an overly large liver. So be on the lookout for alsike clover in your donkey pasture, and if you find it, remove it immediately.

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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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