We visited a Reindeer farm in 2008, where we immediately fell in love with these beautiful creatures. We have had reindeer at Cotley ever since then and they provide a very seasonal flavour to our Christmas celebrations. You can visit them in our reindeer lodge at Whimple.
Do you know your reindeer facts?
- They originate from the north of Scandinavia where they live in herds and have been semi-domesticated for their meat and coats.
- They are the only deer where female and male have antlers. The antlers are shed in the spring and then regrow over the summer. Their antlers are the fastest growing mammalian tissue.
- They have thick winter coats which moult during June & July. It is made of long, hollow hairs, underlaid by short, dense, soft woolly fur.
- Their broad, flat, cleft hooves help the reindeer walk on soft ground and snow. As they walk a clicking noise is produced by a tendon slipping over a bone in the foot.
- They have a soft hairy nose which keeps them warm when eating through snow
- Our reindeer come inside at Christmas but live outside in our fields for the rest of the year. As they are historically a herd animal they all love being with their companions.
- We feed them wheat straw and hay to eat which they enjoy picking through. They have a concentrate supplement to ensure they have all the minerals and vitamins they need, and we also have special lichen from Norway which they love.