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Join us for a virtual field trip to Crystal Collection Reindeer in Lake Crystal, MN. Bev Herda, Daryl and Yvonne Simon have owned reindeer for 30 years and find great joy in caring for their breeding herd of reindeer. They also make special appearances with their reindeer and make naturally shed antler products.

About Crystal Collection Reindeer

Currently Crystal Collection Reindeer have 25 reindeer. There are lots of mothers around the farm with a potential of 18 babies to be born in the spring. Reindeer live to be about 14-15 years.

Originally the Crystal Collection Reindeer farm raised Arabian horses. They got their first reindeer from Nova Scotia, Canada. The older owner was looking for someone to take over the farm with 1 bull and 3 cows. Reindeer are couch potatoes; they enjoy their breakfast, take a nap and enjoying lounging around.

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Reindeer Fur

When it is really cold, reindeer will get their winter coat which is longer, thicker fur. In the summer, the fur sheds and becomes shorter. The shorter fur allows for reindeer to handle the heat better. Another thing that helps keep the reindeer cool in the summer but also warm in the winter, is that their hair is hallow.

Antlers

Antlers fall off in about February or March and they will start to grow back bigger by August. Male antlers are larger around than the female antlers. However, unlike white tail deer we see in Minnesota, both male and females have antlers. When antlers are growing, they are covered in velvet (very short, fine hair) that has a large blood supply underneath it that brings minerals to it to help the antlers grow bigger. When the blood supply dries up the antler is done growing and it starts to itch and they rub it on trees. This is why the velvet disappears.

Food

Reindeer eat a variety of food including a ration of grain, molasses, corn, oats, vitamins and minerals. They also eat a sugar beet pulp which is similar to the liking and moss that they would eat on a tundra or the North Pole. A favorite treat for a reindeer is dried oatmeal. They also enjoy dairy quality alfalfa hay. This hay is very green, stems are very fine and leafy. The reindeer will pick off the leaves and not eat the stems.

In the summer, they will eat up to 10 five-gallon buckets morning and night. When it gets cold and snowy, they reduce the size of their stomach and as a result they eat less food. So right now in the wintertime, they eat less than 5-buckets morning and night.

To learn more about reindeer and the Crystal Collection Reindeer farm, check out the virtual field trip video.

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