Can Donkeys Eat Goat Feed? (Explained)

by Kloee Ngozi
Updated on

Donkeys and goats make great companions.

Many donkey owners who happen to also have goats on their farm have reported that their donkeys regularly love to go after their goat feed.

Goats, just like donkeys feed on pasture and hay, however they require supplementary food, especially when pasture is scarce. Donkeys can eat goat feed however, it doesn’t contain the necessary nutrients which they require and as such should not be made a major part of their diet.

This article will discuss what goat feed is made of, the health benefits of goat feed to donkeys, how often you should feed them goat feed and other questions you might have. 

What Is Goat Feed Made Of?

Can Donkeys Eat Goat Feed

The main diet of goats consists of hay and pasture grasses. Goats will feed on grasses like bermuda and orchard grass.

In areas where there is quality lush pasture, that is enough to provide all goats nutritional requirements. 

However in periods where lush pasture is scarce, goats are placed on hay and supplementary commercial feed.

This feed comes in different mixes depending on the age, size, condition and purpose of the feed.

Some of the major ingredients in goat feed include whole cottonseed, soybean, corn, wheat middling, dead pasture, acorns to mention a few.

These ingredients all serve the purpose of providing the right nutrients including energy, crude protein and vitamins to the goats.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Goat Feed To Donkeys?

  1. Energy

Whole cottonseed, corn, wheat middlings, soybean hulls, soybean meal, and corn gluten feed are examples of high-energy feed grains. 

Bacteria in the goat rumen ferment sugars, starches, fats, and fibers into short – chain fatty acids.

These acids are absorbed and converted into energy.

  1. Protein

Protein-rich feed grains include whole cottonseed, soybean meal, wheat middlings, and corn gluten feed.

Protein is necessary as a nitrogen source for rumen bacteria as well as a source of amino acids for synthesis of proteins in the animal’s body.

It is also usually the most expensive part of the feed. 

  1. Vitamins

Vitamins are only required in trace amounts by the body. The vitamins A and D are by far the most probable to be deficient in the natural diet.

All B and K vitamins are produced by bacteria found in the rumen of goats and are not considered nutritionally necessary. 

Vitamin C is synthesized in sufficient amounts in the body cells to meet needs. All these are effectively provided for in the feed.

  1. Phosphorus

Phosphorus is an essential mineral which functions with calcium and others to improve bone and teeth health and boost immune system functions.

Phosphorus content is sometimes found to be low in natural forage especially matured grasses and is usually provided for in the feed.  

  1. Selenium

Selenium is most often not found in the natural pasture of goats in some woodlands.

As such selenium is often provided for in the feed with the use of trace mineralized salt blocks. 

Here is an article I wrote on what do donkeys eat

How Often Should I Feed Them Goat Feed?

Most donkey owners who keep goats and donkeys together report that their donkeys seem to enjoy the goats’ feed and love to compete with them for it.

Goat feed is likely not to harm your donkeys however, they do not have the same nutritional requirements and as such it should not be their major diet.

For example, goat feed is usually low in salt blocks which is necessary to improve the health and well being of the donkey.

Also the goat feed mix might not be suitable for the donkey eating it.

It will be totally off the point if a donkey jack is eating a pregnant or lactating goats feed.

Because of the different digestive system of the donkey, they might eat up the goats feed and be full without actually getting the important nutrients they require and this can lead to health problems later.

You can allow the donkeys to eat goat feed once in a while, however it is best to keep them away from it and provide them with their specially prepared donkey feed.

Can Baby Donkeys Eat Goat Feed?

Baby donkeys should not be fed goat feed as goats don’t contain the nutritional requirements they need to grow and survive.

Donkey foals start off suckling their mothers milk and can keep on feeding on it as they grow till they reach about 6 months of age.

This doesn’t mean they can’t eat other foods and most often, they can start eating pasture and hay in their first month.

Baby donkeys should be provided with their own feed bowls so they can eat comfortably and get used to eating without being disturbed by a dominant adult. 

Can Donkeys Eat Goat Pellets?

Goat feed pellets are a means of providing feed to the goats in a pellet form.

The ingredients are mixed together and mashed into pellets which are then served to the goats.

Most goat farmers usually record success with pellets as this method of feeding helps to ensure the goat is getting all the nutrition in the feed.

A typical goat pellet can consist of roughages, rice straw, soybean meal, maize crush, salt and other ingredients depending on the type of goat being fed.

Donkeys can eat goat pellets but it would not probably not give them all the nutrition they need.

A goat pellet can have about 2% salt content for example and donkeys usually require a higher content level in their feed. 

Also check out this article I wrote can donkeys eat lettuce

Things To Watch Out For Before Feeding Them Goat Feed?

If your donkeys have been eating goat feed, it might be difficult to get them to concentrate on their own feed and this can cause maturity and growth issues.

Goat feed is often filled with a higher percentage of vitamins and minerals suitable for goats, it is not the best feed for donkeys. 

Goats require much iron and hay which donkeys don’t need. Donkeys need to eat hay and coarse pasture to get all the nutrition they need and require. 

If eating goat feed by donkeys has been a problem on your farm, you can invest in a creep feeder which ensures the donkeys are kept out of the feeder.

This way they are effectively separated during meal times and the donkeys can focus on their feed.

You can also decide to handmix a goat feed mixture which will be suitable for both the donkeys and the goats though you would require expertise on this. 

How Can I Feed Goat Feed To Donkeys?

Goat feed is most often fed by placing the feed in their eating trough from which they can access the feed.

Although donkeys do not have as many water requirements like other animals, always ensure there is a bowl of clean water beside their feed. 


Both donkeys and goats feed on pasture grasses and gain most of their nutrition from there.

Pasture grasses are not always available all year round though and they are sometimes fed commercially manufactured goat feed.

Goat feed provides goats with their daily requirements and nutrients including energy, vitamins and minerals.

Donkeys are known to go after goat feed however this should not be encouraged as they can get filled from eating goat feed and neglect their own food.

Goats do not have all the nutrition a donkey needs and as such it can lead to growth stunts if they keep up the behavior.

The best way is to separate them while feeding or prepare a special mix which can work for the two species. web

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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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