Monday, April 16, 2018

First reindeer of the season born at the experiment farm

See video footage of the calves.

The first reindeer calves of 2018 arrived this weekend at the Fairbanks Experiment Farm.

Reindeer calves rest by their mothers at the Fairbanks Experiment Farm.
A student worker found the first calf at 10 a.m. Sunday, and reindeer caretaker Erin Carr discovered two more calves when she arrived to work this morning.

The arrival of first reindeer calf at the farm is a rite of spring. The newest calves, born to Bella and Nina, wobbled unsteadily this morning and enjoyed breakfast in the fenced fields opposite the Georgeson Botanical Garden.

Carr said the calves, two males  and a female, seemed healthy. The bulls weighed 15 and 15.6 pounds and the female was 13.6 pounds.

The first calf usually arrives in early April so it’s a little later than usual. Altogether, 14 calves are expected this spring.

“April 20 is usually peak calving,” she said.

A reindeer calf and his mother.
The herd now includes 33 adults and three calves. All are part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Reindeer Research Program, which conducts research on nutrition, animal health, meat quality and range management in support of the reindeer industry. It is the only program devoted to reindeer research that is affiliated with a U.S. university.

As is tradition, schoolchildren are encouraged to submit names for the calves, which are named in July or August, after they are weaned. Children may submit names on the Reindeer Research Program website at Names selected last year include Olivia, Sebastian, Blaze, Mr. Antlers, Anouk, Boris, Mabel and Kobuk.

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