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How to Care for Reindeer

| Updated September 26, 2017

How to Care for Reindeer. Reindeer require less food than cows or other types of livestock, and the species does well in colder climates. Reindeer are often used for special events and Christmas celebrations because they are easy to handle and comfortable with people, but they also require special treatment.

Feed your reindeer the right food at the right time. A typical reindeer eats 2.1 percent of its body weight in hay, pellets and grain, along with grazing greens.

Vaccinate and de-worm your reindeer. This will protect your reindeer against hookworm, blackleg, threadworm and other parasites that can cause your reindeer illness.

Separate the bulls and cows during mating season to prevent fighting and female harassment. Breeding season in captivity generally begins in September or August.

Leave newborn calves alone for at least 4 to 6 hours after birth. These new critters need to bond with their mothers and drink colostrum, or first milk, which is high in antibodies and helps cleanse their digestive system.

Give calves Poly Serum and Colostrum B, C or D 6 to 12 hours after birth. These Colostrums are dried versions of the real thing and may come in handy if the mother is not providing proper care.


  • If a calf's mother is incapacitated or refuses to nurse her young, try bottle feeding the calf on a regular schedule, then gradually introducing solid food like grains into its diet.


  • If a calf doesn't receive its mother's colostrum, it's important to immunize the animal right away. Calves have no immune system for the first 3 months of life.