Donkey grazing on common land


The New Forest donkeys are some of the best-loved animals in the National Park. There are far fewer donkeys than ponies  -  only around 150 are turned-out on the Forest compared with over 5,000 ponies -  but they are often seen roaming in the villages where they are a popular visitor attraction.

Donkeys are smaller and generally more docile than New Forest ponies. They are extremely hardy and can survive on the Forest all year round without having to be returned to the commoners’ holdings over winter. However, they are prone to lameness if their hooves are not regularly trimmed.

Donkeys prefer browsing trees and bushes to grass, and are occasionally unpopular with their human neighbours for nibbling an appetising hedgerow!

Commoners pay the same marking fees for donkeys as for ponies. Unlike pony stallions, male donkeys (jacks) are allowed to stay on the Forest all year round; very occasionally a badly behaved jack donkey will have to be removed from the Forest by its owner. Female donkeys are called jennies. The foals command a high price and can sell for £500 – more than double the value of a pony foal. Donkeys are generally kept as pets although they can be used for riding by children.

  1. Common rights of the New Forest
  2. History of commoning
  3. Cattle
  4. Donkey (you are here)
  5. New Forest pony
  6. Pigs
  7. Sheep
  8. New Forest Commoners Defence Association


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