Positive reinforcement training (aka clicker training) uses a system where you break down behaviours into small, teachable steps, quickly mark the correct behaviour with a "yes-answer" signal (the click in clicker training) and follow this by rewarding the animal with something they really, really want - in the donkeys' case FOOD!
So, basically it's: Behaviour = Click = Reward
The question is, what can I use as a food reward that is healthy for donkeys? And if you are training as much as I do, that means offering quite a bit over the course of a day.
The best things I have found are simple Timothy hay pellets, however they are only sold in the US and not in Canada! I have been lucky to have had a friend bring me 2 bags awhile back and I got another 2 on my way to Clicker Expo in Portland last year but I am very nearly out of them now.
I have looked at various feed tags on bags of horse feeds but even the best ones are either high fiber, high FAT or else they have a lot of molasses and other unwanted things, like oil.
I could cut up apples and carrots but don't really want to add another task to my list - I want something in the barn that I can quickly fill my treat pouch with.
So I am now wondering if I can make my own donkey treats! Here's a list of things I feel would be safe and healthy to feed donkeys but I am missing a starch or binder to hold them all together.
carrots (grated), applesauce, flax "eggs" (which is just flax seed in water), dried nettle or raspberry leaf, mint, a bit of ginger, banana
I'd like to form cookie dough logs that I can bake and then cut into very small pieces. But I doubt the above concoction would hold together. The only thing I can think to add is whole oats ground into flour.
I know that some people feed oats to donkeys ... personally I try to avoid cereal grains, but I may need to include them here and hope it's okay.
Any other ideas out there?