Reindeer are small ruminants, and the range of these animals is usually from far north of North America, northern Europe, and Siberia. They are snow animals, and summer and high temperatures are not the best friends of Santa’s helpers.
People with a good financial situation, multinationals, tourist units, or private schools “fight” to rent a pair of reindeers for Santa’s sleigh just to recreate the specific decoration of the winter holidays as close to reality as possible. Pursuant to data from various reindeer farm websites, it may cost you for $200 to $300 or more to rent a pair of reindeers for an hour.
It should be taken into consideration the fact that the animals stay in confined spaces when they are taken out to events or as business promotions, because of their sharp and edged antlers that can recklessly prove dangerous. Only the well-trained reindeer can be managed through crowds on a strap or pose for photos at Christmas events. Owners say that a stress-free approach is very important.
They are easy animals to maintain, but they need a generous space. They can’t live in small shelters. Reindeers are heat-sensitive animals, but they love the cold, the snow, the current season. They like to look for food in the snow, lichens, raw grass, moss, and during the winter they are given a surplus of concentrated fodder and cereals: oats, barley, and corn.
Purchasing a reindeer
After you decided that you want to buy a reindeer you must verify your state laws regarding herd and vaccination requirements. You will also have to enroll your premises with the United States Department of Agriculture. The Reindeer Owners and Breeders Association suggests that new proprietors purchase young animals, as reindeer calves are easier to train than mature reindeers. Check any reindeer you purchase comes from a certified tuberculosis-free farm.
A reindeer can cost up to $2,750 for females and $1,500 for males and those are the young ones. The older ones sell for $4000 and usually can be bought from reindeer farms in Finland, so you have to add to the cost, the transport price which can reach $1000. Also, there are the costs for the 8-foot-high fence imposed by state law, plus, of course, feed and supplements.
You should expect to pay about $2,000 annually for each reindeer with feed, veterinary, and reindeer-related farm maintenance costs.
In captivity, well cared for and protected from heat in summer, a reindeer can live up to 20 years, provided that it does not survive in the wild for more than ten years. It reaches sexual maturity at the age of 2 years, and the mating season is in September-November.
The gestation period is 224 days, with the most of calves being born in April. The calves weigh 10-20 pounds, about the size of a large shoebox with long skinny legs. They are up and walking within hours of birth. The mother’s milk bag is quite small and the calf can empty it in less than a minute. They nurse frequently and the milk is supposed to be one of the richest of any mammal, reaching up to 18% fat. Reindeer normally have single births. The calves grow rapidly and can weigh 125 pounds by the time they are 4 months old.
Should you buy a reindeer?
- Definitely yes, if you raise them for their tasty meat
- The antlers can be sold when in the velvet stage (Chinese medicine uses antler for a variety of different ailments and it is also considered to be an aphrodisiac)
- Reindeer make good pets, as they are gentle and friendly
- They can be trained to pull sleds or carts and give rides. Ours have pulled “Santa” in his sled to a mall at Christmas