Rutting season was shorter and a lot smoother this year. Silver still didn’t like Jade having his own little herd on the other side of the fence. And, of course Jade still seemed to enjoy taunting Silver from the other side of the fence. There was a little commotion when the herd was reunited, but everybody settled down pretty quickly. Silver has started gently playing with Granite, letting the calf push his little antler’s against his dad’s big curled antlers and into the shovel that protrudes over Silver’s face. It’s a pretty funny sight….a 400 pound reindeer opposite a 125 pound calf pushing with all his might.
We’ve had a great time this summer watching the reindeer and taking them for walks. We’ve noticed every year that the new calf rules the reindeer pen. Whenever Granite walks up to another reindeer at a feeder, they immediately walk away and leave the feeder to the baby. If the calf walks over to drink water, the other reindeer walk away.
Also, the older reindeer take turns babysitting the calf whenever the herd ventures to adjoining pens to browse during the day. One big difference this year is that there isn’t a one year old reindeer for the calf to play with. When Granite lost the velvet from his antlers, his brothers wouldn’t play with him. Of course Harvey and Sandy are great playmates. Granite never tires of playing with us.
April 16, seemed like the day Crystal would present her next calf. She was getting grumpy, bluff charging Silver, Jade and Mica. She would lie down on her favorite hill and start panting. This went on for about a week, and finally on April 23rd, another male reindeer was born.
Granite was even more tame than Garnet the year before. From the moment we found him under a tree, he would just lay there and let us rub him endlessly. Three year old children were feeding and petting him within three weeks. Harness training was a breeze this year.
Granite was even more tame that Garnet the year before. From the moment we found him under a tree, he would just lay there and let us rub him endlessly. Three year old children were feeding and petting him within three weeks. Harness training was a breeze this year.
Sadly, on January 23, Garnet didn’t want
to leave the barn. She became weak and
died of shock later that day. During a
necropsy, the vet found another plastic
shopping bag in her stomach which had
blocked her intestines.
On January 5 there was a tremendous wind storm that came on suddenly. We moved the reindeer into the innermost pen, but too late. That night Garnet couldn’t eat or drink. We put her in the back seat of the Honda on Harvey’s lap and took her to the vet’s office. She didn’t like the car at first, but quickly settled down for the three mile ride. The vet surgically removed a plastic shopping bag from Garnet’s esophagus, stitched her up and we took her home to the barn.
Over the next two weeks she recovered from the surgery and a bout of pneumonia. Weather permitting, during daylight hours Garnet spent time with the rest of the herd playing in the snow and clanging her antlers with her brothers. Each evening she followed us out of the pen and back into the barn.