|For centuries, domesticated reindeer have served indigenous peoples including the
Lapps in Norway, and the Tungus and Chukchi tribes in eastern Siberia. Reindeer have
provided them with milk, butter, cheese, meat and clothing. They are also trained for
riding and harnessed to pull a loaded sled. Norway, Sweden and Finland are reindeer
countries. And ever since Clement Moore wrote his heart-warming verses, "'Twas the
night before Christmas," in the nineteenth century, the image of reindeer became
inseparable from Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus).
Both male and female reindeer grow antlers each year. When they are growing, the
antlers are soft, rubbery, and the living mass of blood and marrow is covered with a
furry skin. The antlers grow rapidly and during this period the reindeer are said to be
“in velvet”. The antlers are finished growing in August, harden, and the “velvet” is
vigorously rubbed off. The older bulls generally lose or “drop” their antlers first,
usually late December or early January, with the remaining bulls following this process
until as late as March. The females generally keep their antlers until calving time, 7
months from when they were bred. Then the antler growing process is repeated all
over again. The reindeer has relatively large hooves, giving it good footing on snow and
Reindeer breeding season usually begins in the fall. The bulls then begin to "rut".
Their necks swell. They become protective of the females in the herd, and the
breeding season of several months begins.
Gestation is about 224 days. The calves are usually single births with that flurry of
activity beginning in April. Twin births are extremely rare in reindeer. The calves are
up nursing and walking very quickly, normally in less than an hour. They weigh between
8-14 lbs at birth, grow rapidly and some can easily weigh 90 lbs when they are 4
months old. By then they have already grown their first set of “Rudolph” antlers.
Reindeer do not require large areas or facilities. They can thrive on commercial feeds
and are now raised successfully in most parts of the USA, including, as far south as
Texas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Farm raised reindeer are curious, friendly,
likeable animals. They are easy to fence, feed and train. They can be trained to walk
on a lead rope, as well as pull a sleigh or cart
|GG Reindeer Farm
|All About Reindeer