Where Can I Find Barley Straw to Feed My Donkey?
Q. I read your article about feeding donkeys, in which you said barley straw is safer for lower crude proteins and calories. I can’t find any other than what is sold for cleaning ponds. Is this safe for donkeys?
A. Donkeys originate from arid environments where forage is sparse and of very low nutritional value. In their native environments donkeys predominantly eat browse (the tips of woody shrubs and trees as well as some other broad-leaved plants) or forbs (flowering plants). Donkeys have developed several adaptations to survive successfully on these fibrous, low-nutrition foods. Therefore, experts typically recommend feeding donkeys forages with high fiber content and low nutritional value. Straw typically fills these criteria.
The Donkey Sanctuary is globally recognized as the authority in donkey care and management. It manages approximately a thousand donkeys at any given time and has experimented extensively in how best to feed them. Barley straw is the Donkey Sanctuary’s main recommendation, followed by wheat and then oat straw. Barley straw is favored because of its low nutritional value and because it’s easier to eat than wheat straw, which is more fibrous. Barley straw also doesn’t seem to cause the same weight gain that can occur with oat straw, which is more
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