Next week is the start of pannage season, or also known as 'common of the mast.' This is when pigs will be turned out to eat the autumn bounty of chestnuts, beech masts and acorns which are particularly toxic to ponies and cattle. These pigs are benefiting the stock that live out on the forest all year round as well as getting a free feed! Despite the abundance of nuts to gorge on, commoners often still feed their freely roaming pigs daily just to encourage them home. Pigs can roam a fair distance and not always that keen to be caught at the end of the 60 day pannage season, so it's good to keep them close to their homestead and know they can get an easy feed once a day from their owners. The pigs are given ear tags for identification and nose rings to prevent rooting up the forest floor before being turned out.
They are wonderful and a lot of the time entertaining to see on autumn walks but please keep your distance, particularly if a sow has piglets with her. The little ones can be very inquisitive and try to approach when getting too close, but mum can also be very protective. So for your own safety keep your distance and dogs on leads but enjoy the view if you come across these beauties over the coming weeks 🐷