When donkeys are in their barn or shelter, they require some form of bedding to help protect their joints from the hard floor. Bedding is also needed to absorb any liquid output from the donkeys or spilled water. Without bedding, a donkey’s area can get pretty nasty pretty quickly. Since several types of bedding are available commercially, it can be hard to know exactly what is the best bedding for donkeys.

What is the best bedding for donkeys?

The best bedding for donkeys is also the most straightforward and most accessible – dry, clean straw. Donkeys can use various types of straw, but overall any kind of straw is considered the best bedding for donkeys. Donkeys usually love it, and it tends to be the cheapest form of bedding, too!

Most owners recommend barley straw for donkey bedding. Barley straw is lower in feed value than oat straw but higher than wheat straw. It is comfortable for the donkeys to lay on, and it drains reasonably well.

If barley straw is not available, the next best options are wheat straw or oat straw. Donkeys tend to enjoy eating their bedding, which is another reason why owners prefer straw over other forms of bedding. It is safe to eat!

Why do donkeys need bedding?

You might be wondering why donkeys even need bedding. They don’t have access to bedding in the wild, right? But domestic donkeys do require bedding, especially in the winter when they spend more time in their barn or shelter. The best bedding for donkeys is undoubtedly not the cold, hard floor.

Donkeys in a shelter

Shelter flooring

Often, there is only a hard, compact dirt floor or concrete floor in many shelters. Hard floors are not safe for donkeys due to the risk of slipping, falling, and injury. Hard flooring also contributes to uncomfortable added pressure on a donkey’s joints.

Instead of allowing your donkey on the hard floor, add at least six inches of dirt to the floor, whether it already is a dirt floor or a concrete floor. This extra layer will provide additional cushioning for your donkey’s joints.

Another option would be to place heavy rubber stall mats on the shelter floor. These may require more cleaning than a dirt floor, but they add a great layer of extra insulation from the cold ground. They also extend the life of any bedding placed on top of them.

When not to use straw bedding

Sometimes, a donkey may be experiencing respiratory problems. In that case, straw bedding could make the problems worse because of the dust and particles in straw. Donkeys are also known for easily gaining weight, so if a donkey needs to go on a diet, it will require bedding that it can’t eat. In these cases, rubber stall mats would be an option, but keep in mind that they need frequent cleaning.

Other types of donkey bedding

Some other clean and replaceable materials can also make good bedding for donkeys. Wood pellets, wood shavings, or a combination of the two make for good bedding. They are ideal if your donkey is on a diet, as they are less appetizing than straw.

Different types of bedding can be used in different combinations together. Some suggest placing wood shavings down first and then straw on top to help improve water drainage. Others suggest using wood pellets on the bottom since they are more absorbent and adding wood shavings on the top for added comfort.


Now that you know what is the best bedding for donkeys and some commonly used bedding options. You can try out some of these for your donkeys. After experimenting with different bedding types and combinations, you will be able to find the best bedding for your donkey.


  • Julianna R

    Julianna is an ardent animal lover who has multiple experiences dealing with farm animals. She has worked as a pet care specialist and loves animals that come in all shapes and sizes. She is a writing enthusiast too and loves to tell her stories to the world through her words.

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