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Six hundred New Forest pigs eat tons of acorns deadly to ponies


More than six hundred pigs have been let loose in the New Forest to feast on acorns.

The nuts are a toxic health hazard to the wild ponies – and this year’s crop has been exceptional.


Allowing “commoners” to turn out their pigs is known as pannage.

Usually only three hundred pigs are needed to chomp their way through the acorns dropped by the forest’s thousands of oak trees.

The site is managed by “verderers”.

Verderer Colin Draper said:

“A dozen animals or more die each year because they’ve eaten too many acorns.

WIt affects their livers, and they die a painful death.

“We had thought because it was such a dry summer that the acorns would be smaller, and the crop would be less significant.

“In fact, it’s quite the reverse.

“We’ve got enormous acorns.

“They’re falling early, and it is a concern for people with ponies and cattle, but they are a marvellous food for pigs.”

All the cattle, ponies and pigs in the New Forest are owned by the forest’s 400 commoners.

Commoners can graze their livestock for a token fee.


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