Fall rutting season was a bit tougher this year. Our bull, Silver, didn’t like having the herd split in two. Even though Jade and Mica are steers, Silver didn’t like Jade being on the other side of the fence with his own little herd….Mica and Garnet. Of course, it didn’t help that Jade would walk back and forth along the fence taunting Silver. Silver spent day and night charging the fence between the two pens. We spent every day straightening the fence and reinforcing posts when need be. We were sure glad when Silver’s antlers fell off the first week of December and he was back to his normal docile self. Crystal re-established herself as the herd leader, but Garnet still liked to follow Jade everywhere.
Halter training Garnet went pretty smooth. She was always anxious to have her halter on and head out the gate toward a patch of dandelions nearby. Now that all five reindeer were halter broken, they all wanted to go for a walk at the same time. If we had a willing guest or two along, we could manage all five reindeer at the same time. Harvey and I got pretty good at handling two reindeer at the same time, although the reindeer prefer not to be restricted by the other’s movements. One afternoon as Harvey was leading Silver out the gate, little Garnet snuck out along side dad. She dashed off to her favorite dandelion patch and started browsing on her favorite treat. It took a couple of minutes to tie off Silver and Jade, and grab Garnet’s halter and rope.
She was so intent on the dandelions, she didn’t pay any attention as we walked up to her and slipped the halter over her nose. She never lifted her head….just kept eating those dandelions. From that day on, whenever the reindeer went for a walk outside the pens Garnet was the first to get her halter on.
Garnet was precious and very, very tame. The little reddish brown ball of fur was intrigued by her dad and brothers in the adjacent pen. She would spend all day next to the fence watching the boys. Brothers, Jade and Mica, started running back and forth along the fence while little Garnet tried to keep up. When she tired, she curled up in the roots of a birch three next to the fence, propped her chin on a log and fell asleep.
On her fifth day, we opened a second pen area for mom (Crystal) and baby Garnet. A couple of hours later we checked on them and found that Garnet had crawled under the fence and joined her dad (Silver) and brothers in the next pen. There was no way Garnet would let us catch her….she was having a great time. After having no luck coaxing her back to where she belonged, we ended up herding Silver, Mica and Jade into Garnet’s pen so she would follow them. Once she was back where she belonged it was easy to herd the boys back to their pen. A few days later it was time to reunite the herd. We opened a gate between the pens. Garnet dashed through and ran straight for Mica, her 125 pound one year old brother. Garnet spent 15 minutes or more chasing Mica through the hills and splashing through the marsh behind him. Chasing Mica became Garnet’s favorite game.
What a day 3 I've had!.
It’s a girl!
Crystal and Silver’s newest calf Garnet, was born around 8 p.m. on the evening of April 11, 2003!
Garnet was smaller than Mica when he was born in 2002, and she was not as strong and healthy. After three days, however, she was running all over the reindeer pen. From time to time her mother, Crystal will bark at her to stop running. At this stage, Garnet still listens to her mom and abruptly stops running when she barks.
Garnet at three days old.
Garnet's daddy, Silver, and brothers Jade and Mica are in the adjoining pen. She constantly pokes her head through the fence at them. The boys aren't sure what to make of this little reindeer. They sniff at her and lick her nose. Occasionally we catch the boys running back and forth the length of their pen, and little Garnet is trying to keep up with them on the other side of the fence.
Garnet didn't mind us petting her the first two days, but on day three she decided to keep her distance. She will walk along side us, but hands off at this point. So, halter training begins today (day 5) before she gets too independent for training.