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new forest donkeys
New Forest donkeys

Donkeys in the New Forest

There are many different types of livestock which are put out to pasture, including the infamous New Forest ponies, pigs and cows which we often find roaming around the forest. One of the more overlooked animals which can be found in the forest is the New Forest donkey, which can be found throughout the forest all year round.

Greatly loved by the visitors to the New Forest, only around 100 donkeys are turned out into the forest in comparison with the 3,000 New Forest ponies.

Male donkeys are known as a ‘Jack’ and are allowed to stay in the forest all year round unlike the New Forest ponies; it is only on very rare occasions that a Jack is removed from the forest by its owner for being badly behaved. The female donkeys are referred to as a ‘Jenny’ and are also found in the forest throughout the entire year due to their hardy nature which allows them to survive the forest all year round. Although more docile than ponies, it is important for both your safety and the safety of the New Forest animals that you do not approach or stroke them and remember to keep your distance if they are with a foal.

Although a huge hit with visitors, New Forest donkeys are sometimes unpopular with the locals as they enjoy feasting on their hedgerows. Donkeys prefer to be around trees, hedges and bushes and you are unlikely to spot them on the large grassy heathlands. You can usually find some donkeys in the New Forest villages such as Beaulieu, Brockenhurst and Burley; however you must remember it is an offence to feed them.
Donkeys cross roads at any time, so make sure you adhere to the speed limit and keep an eye out. Be sure to carry an animal’s emergency hotline card which provides you with all the information you will need in the case of an emergency.