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New Forest Life Tales, Issue #Nov--A New Forest ponies, pigs and acorns
November 12, 2015

New Forest pigs, ponies and acorns - why are Pannage pigs vital?

Welcome to my New Forest Life Tales Issue #November 2015.

It's been ages since I last published one of my New Forest Tales but here's my latest one for Autumn 2015

At the moment we're in the middle of Pannage season. It started on September 14th and will go on for an extended time until December 20th. Usually, it's a 60 day timescale unless there are reasons, like there are this year, to extend it.

Pannage is an ancient right in the New Forest which is also called Right of Mast. it's a very practical way of safeguarding the New Forest ponies and also fattening up the locals pigs ready for Christmas.

Commoners put their pigs and piglets out onto the open forest during Pannage to roam freely. They love green acorns and unlike the ponies are able to eat and successfully digest huge amounts of green acorns. The New Forest ponies aren't able to eat and digest them and sadly if they eat too many they will suffer colic and often die a painful death.

In the past I've had to help rescue a foal which had eaten too many acorns. Luckily enough it chose my cottage to stand outside as it stamped and swayed from side to side as it's stomach got more and more severe cramps. By spotting it early the owner and myself were able to box mother and foal up and take them off so that a large dose of castor oil could be pushed down into the foals gut. Luckily enough the oil was enough to pass the mass of acorns through so the toxins weren't able to take effect.

Tragically, a few years later another lovely little foal owned by the same Commoner, despite being taken off the forest and hopefully away from dangerous levels of green acorns, managed to eat enough acorns and dying despite being in a relatively safe field.

So the pigs are vital to the New Forest and each time you see them scrambling around getting up to mischief think of the great service they're doing to the lives of the New Forest ponies.

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Thanks for subscribing to this ezine. I hope we can share many more together in the future, as you read of my New Forest Tales. Discover with me, what living in the New Forest National Park is really like.

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