Anyone who has been following along with our tour business, Last Frontier Mushing Co-op, has probably seen photos of our reindeer. I’ve had several folks ask me, why reindeer? And my normal response is- why not?! I’ve always dreamed of having a farm, and reindeer are the ultimate arctic farm animals. Their coats are exceptionally thick, so frigid -50F temperatures are no big deal. In the winter, the reindeer eat the snow for hydration, so a water trough isn’t necessary. They’re browsers, meaning that our fields of saplings are PERFECT habitats for them. Seeing as caribou and reindeer are just different subspecies, they’re essentially made for the Arctic. I love watching them eat and move. They’re curious and agile. Long story short- who wouldn’t want a couple reindeer?
In our pursuit to begin a reindeer farm, we (Last Frontier Mushing Co-op) purchased three reindeer last fall- Ronin, Chisto, and Olive. A bull and two cows, these are to be the foundation of our new herd. They were all about one and half years old and had lived most of their life in the company of other reindeer, not humans. Ronin, with his bullish confidence, has learned to tolerate us, but Chisto and and Olive are a little more timid. Because we hope to incorporate reindeer as an educational and interactive component in our tours, we decided to not overly stress Ronin, Chisto, and Olive and instead focus on socializing their future offspring. Unfortunately, Mother Nature decided our herd wasn’t ready to produce calves, so we decided to acquire two new bull calves with whom to begin training. And guess what- they arrived yesterday! These two boys are already quickly warming up to their new human and canine herdmates. As I type this blog post, I’m sitting in their pen, watching them nap, snore, and burp. Such cuties.