Can Donkeys Eat Kale? (Answered)

by Kloee Ngozi
Updated on

Kale is a leafy green cruciferous vegetable which belongs to the Brassica family. Other members of this family include turnips, cauliflower and broccoli. Kale is not safe for donkeys to eat as it belongs to the brassica family. 

Donkeys should not be fed kale as cruciferous plants are called mustards and can be dangerous to them. Kale can lead to anemia and a buildup of gas in the digestive tract when donkeys eat them. 

Let’s discuss why you should not feed kale to your donkeys, whether mini donkeys can eat kale and whether donkeys can eat kale leaves amongst other questions.  

What Are The Health Benefits Of Kale To Donkeys?

Can Donkeys Eat Kale

Even though donkeys and other equines should not be fed kale, kale itself is a nutrient rich vegetable which has quite a number of health benefits which include:

  1. Fiber

Fiber is an important nutrient which helps to improve gut health and also aid digestive activities.

Eating foods high in dietary fiber has been shown to reduce the levels of blood glucose.

It has also been linked to the reduced incidence of diabetes in humans. Kale is quite a rich source of dietary fiber

  1. Antioxidant

Antioxidants aid in the removal of harmful toxins produced by some natural processes and stressors.

These toxins are unstable molecules known as free radicals and if there are too many of them in the body, they can cause oxidative stress. 

This can in turn lead to health issues such as inflammatory response and disease such as cancer. 

  1. Calcium

Calcium as a mineral is very important to the development of teeth and bone health. A bowl of cooked kale provides about 18% of the recommended daily need for calcium. 

When eaten with other calcium rich foods, kale helps to ensure strong bones and teeth as well as other important functions provided by calcium. 

  1. Vitamins

Several vitamins such as A, C and K are present in kale and help to keep the body healthy and safe from disease.

Vitamins that are crucial for skin development, bone strengthening and other body tissues are all present in kale.

Kale can provide about 20% of the daily need for the above named vitamins.

  1. Iron 

Kale contains about 8 – 18% of the adult daily requirement for iron.

We all know iron is very important in the body for the production of hemoglobin and transport of oxygen all through the body.

A deficiency of iron can easily lead to anemia and other health issues which can be avoided by regular eating of kale. 

These are a few of the nutrients provided by kale when eaten in regular quantities from time.

Here is an article I wrote on what do donkeys eat? 

How Often Should I Feed Them Kale?

Kale should not be fed to donkeys because of its dangerous properties on their health.

If a donkey is let loose in a kale farm and eats to his fill there is a strong probability he would experience gas bloating which can kill when it is not properly treated.

Eating kale can also cause a donkey to become anemic as kale affects and destroys red blood cells.

If also not treated on time, kale can cause death in donkeys.

One or two leaves of kale will not hurt the donkey when it is fed to them, but it is better to avoid it totally so your donkey does not develop a taste for it.

There are a variety of other healthy snacks and treats that you can give to your donkeys and they would in turn love and enjoy them. 

Can Mini Donkeys Eat Kale?

Miniature donkeys are small sized donkeys whose maximum height is 36 inches.

Mini donkeys are cute fuzzy creatures that are usually kept on farmlands as guard animals to smaller animals such as chickens, donkeys and quails.

They are usually smaller than standard donkeys and will weigh between 200- 400 kg.

Mini donkeys are a species of donkeys from the Mediterranean part of the world before getting popular in other parts. 

Mini donkeys have the same body systems with donkeys and as such are also fed on straw, silage and hay.

As such, mini donkeys should not be fed kale as it would also cause the same issues in them. 

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

Can Donkeys Eat Kale Leaves?

Donkeys should not be fed kale leaves as they are part of the brassica family which in large amounts can cause colic, anemia and bloating.

If given a few leaves it wouldn’t cause any ill effects however it is always better to be on the safe side.

Other plants in the brassica family such as broccoli, cauliflower and alyssum are also  not safe for donkeys to eat and should be avoided. 

Can Donkeys Eat Kale Chips?

Kale chips are made from baking kale leaves with kosher salt and olive oil in the oven with temperatures set between 350F and 425F.

This in turn produces a crispy chip which is a low calorie energy snack.

Kale chips are healthy and give nutrients ranging from vitamins, omega acids and fiber. Since kale is not exactly healthy for donkeys then it is not very wise to feed it to them.

Although quite a healthy snack, it is not known if cooking the leaves reduces the possibility of causing health issues for them.

Things To Watch Out For Before Feeding Them Kale?

Kale is a member of the brassica family and as such they should not be fed kale. Kale can lead to health issues for donkeys such as colic, anemia and bloating.

If fed in very moderate quantities, it is possible that your donkey will not have health issues from eating kale. 

Turnips are the only safe vegetables for donkeys to eat in the brassica family.

Even though kale in small quantities is not likely to affect donkeys negatively, there are other vegetables that you can feed them which will not give them a negative side effect.

If you happen to have kale plants around your farmstead then ensure it is not close to your donkey’s enclosure or fence them round to make sure your donkeys do not get into it and go about gorging themselves on it.


Kale is a healthy vegetable that has quite a number of nutrients such as calcium, vitamins and minerals and which are beneficial to a number of animals.

However, kale is not healthy for donkeys to eat as it can cause colic, anemia and a build up of gas in their digestive system.

Donkeys can eat kale if fed with caution and moderation, however it is better to avoid feeding it at all to the donkeys.

There are a variety of healthy treats and snacks which can be given to donkeys in the place of kale. 

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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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