Plea NOT to feed New Forest ponies and donkeys

Plea NOT to feed New Forest ponies and donkeys

Published at 10:23am 17th February 2020. (Updated at 9:39pm 17th February 2020)

2 minute read

A safety group is warning interacting with the animals is dangerous for them and you.

With half term upon us many families will be heading to the New Forest but whilst it may be tempting to feed or pet ponies and donkeys it can be harmful for them.

It encourages the animals to hang around car parks and get close to traffic where the risk being struck and injured, or worse killed.

In recent cases carrots have been scattered close to Roger Penny Way, the road has one of the worst records for animal accidents in the forest.

Last Summer a tourist was spotted feeding donkeys crisps in the middle of the B3078 at Godshill.


In some instances motorists have been spotted feeding animals from their car.

The New Forest Roads Campaign says that encourages ponies not to fear vehicles.


It can also lead to bad habits, with ponies and donkeys pestering people picnicking.

Hand feeding encourages aggression, because the animals demand food from visitors and can get upset when the supply runs out.


The New Forest Roads Campaign say the best advice is to admire the from a distance.

New Forest Roads Campaign



Getting too close to some of the New Forest animals could land you with an injury too, as these signs explain.

Donkey poster New Forest

There are currently about 5,000 New Forest ponies roaming freely, they are not wild, but owned by commoners who have ancient rights to graze their animals on the open forest

Last year there were 159 road accidents involving livestock, with 58 animals killed.

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