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Acorns fatally poison 50 ponies in English forest

An Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) munches on an acorn.

An Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) munches on an acorn. © David Iliff

A bumper crop of acorns in Britain’s New Forest has resulted in about 50 ponies being fatally poisoned.

The ingestion of acorns from oak trees normally kills about half a dozen ponies annually in the Hampshire forest, but that number has spiked because of the huge crop sparked by a moist spring and hot summer.

The acorns came down in great numbers in recent high winds.

Forest officials have agreed to extend the length of pannage – the name given to the annual release of pigs into the forest to eat the acorns – for six weeks until December 15. The animals are unaffected by their ingestion.

Officials had already doubled the number of pigs in the pannage from 200 to 400 to clean up the acorns, but it failed to stem the deaths.

The acorns are poisonous to horses, cows and sheep.

Ponies eating acorns in the New Forest.

Ponies eating acorns in the New Forest. © Jim Champion

The pyrogallic acid and tannins in them can cause fatal kidney and stomach damage.

The acorns have also claimed the lives of at least 16 cattle.

Official Verderer Dominic May reported there were still acorns that had yet to fall and a carpet of them remained uneaten under some oak trees.

The last bumper year for acorns was 2006, when 47 ponies died.

Horsetalk.co.nz

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  1. valerie sumner says:

    My TB Mare ate ACORNS and nearly died, within 24 hours she lost heaps weight and collapsed, my VET from Borehamwood in Hertfordshire, CHRIS HARRIS was wonderful in his treatment of my mare DIAMOND 9th, I prayed FOR MY Mare and put her onto spiritual Healing, she recovered, Chris told me she was a dead horse 3 days prior, but she lived for LOVE AND HER HEALING WAS A TRUE MIRACLE.Chris Harris was a superb Veterinarean from Pickup & Stockman at Borehamwood, Herts.UK. the World needs more Vets like Chris. and Dr.Stockman.

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