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As you remember, this microbial protein is the protein source of the ruminant. which is consequently known as reindeer moss (though it’s a lichen and not a moss). (This is yet another "moss" that is really a lichen.) Cladonia rangifernia is a type of lichen also known as Reindeer Lichen, which reindeer will often eat in the harsh winter months. As a supplementary feed some fresh cut hay or dried hay can be offered. 1996, Influence of diet on the morphology of the ruminal papillae in reindeer calves (Rangifer tarandus tarandus L.), Rangifer, 16 (3), s. 119-128. Calculating the nutrient content of the diet is advisable as it prevents overdosing supplements and nutrient deficiencies. The indigenous people of Canada make frequent use of reindeer moss in their diet, though it’s as more of a filler than a primary food source. Welcome back! This moss, actually a lichen, is easily identifiable because of its similarity to deer antlers. Clauss, M., Hofmann, R.R., Fickel, J., Streich, W.J. - Reindeer are perfectly adapted for the cold, in fact, they prefer it. Being wet in subzero temperatures predisposes the animals to other health problems. During the winter, they generally survive on mosses and lichen, which are hardy enough to live through the severe cold weather. Reindeer do well in extreme coldness, for example the surface temperature of their feet can drop to just a few degrees Celsius. Ophof, A.A., Oldeboer, K.W. Reindeer do not suffer in the cold as their bodies and thick hide and fur, is able to withstand their harsh habitat. The winter diet can and should also be supplemented with minerals and vitamins. They give you valuable information about how the diet works for your animals. Heggberget, T.M., Gaare, E. & Ball, J.P. 2002, Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) and climate change: Importance of winter forage, Rangifer, 22 (1), s. 13-31. Two diets – One for summer and one for winter Feeding in the summer. & Booth, R. 2015, Non-invasive assessment of the interrelationships of diet, pregnancy rate, group composition, and physiological and nutritional stress of barren-ground caribou in late winter, PLoS ONE, 10 (6). Mathiesen, S.D., Haga, ØE., Kaino, T. & Tyler, N.J.C. Because reindeer love lichen so much it is sometimes called “reindeer lichen.” In the winter reindeer will look for food under the snow. Podterob, A. One of the most widespread and commonly eaten lichen, by beast and brute alike, is a northern version of what you see above, Cladonia rangiferina, (ran-jiff-er-EYE-nah or ran-ghif-er-EE-nah) also known as Cladina rangiferina — both Latin for many branching reindeer like. Barboza, P. & Parker, K. 2006, Body Protein Stores and Isotopic Indicators of N Balance in Female Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) during Winter, Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 79 (3), s. 628-644. What do reindeers eat as adults do not differ much from what they eat when they are young. The lichen can also be covered with a hard crust on top of the snow, making it impossible to dig them up. The transition between diets should be slow and span over two to three weeks. Reindeer and Caribou: Health and Disease. Staples in the diet. To summarize everything we have learned in these three articles, here is your take home message: Thank you so much for reading this article series on reindeer nutrition, diets and feeding! This means that the summer diet must be high in metabolizable energy and protein for the reindeer to gain enough weight and body reserves for upcoming winter. After Christmas the reindeer are unable to put on anymore weight; the hormonal changes have decreased their appetite so that the reindeer won’t eat enough, no matter how much high-quality feed is offered. Reindeer do not suffer in the cold as their bodies and thick hide and fur, is able to withstand their harsh habitat. These can be obtained from the same supplements used in the summer. CRC Press. VAT Number FI28713117, Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window). Valtonen, M. 1979, Renal responses of reindeer to high and low protein diet and sodium supplement, University of Helsinki. Grey reindeer lichen is one of the lichens most frequently grazed by caribou and reindeer. 2010, Convergence in the macroscopic anatomy of the reticulum in wild ruminant species of different feeding types and a new resulting hypothesis on reticular function, Journal of Zoology, 281 (1), s. 26-38. They are fascinating organisms that are actually two organisms in one – a fungus and an algae or cyanobacteria. Their ability increases during winter. A salt lick of pure natrium chloride should always be available. What else? Also grains and beet pulp are used in reindeer diets. On average, reindeers live until they are around 16 years old. These herds can range in size from anything to a few animals, to up to half a million reindeer! If there is too much protein in the winter diet, the nitrogen conserved in the urea cycle and provided in the diet exceeds the needs. A mineral supplement maybe in order, depending on the browse quality and concentrates that are offered. Business ID 2871311-7 Urea contains nitrogen needed in forming microbial protein in the rumen. Reindeer, especially the gestating females are known to eat dead plant parts in the winter. Reindeer Moss has a taste reminiscent of mushrooms. Pösö, A.R., Heiskari, U., Lindström, M., Nieminen, M. & Soveri, T. 2001, Muscle fibre growth in undernourished reindeer calves (Rangifer tarandus tarandus L.) during winter, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 129 (2), s. 495-500. What do reindeers eat in captivity also depends on what leafy greens you have available to give them, as reindeer can safely eat their way through a whole host of vegetables like swiss chard, collard and beet greens, kale, lettuce, and cabbage. It also increases the amount of quickly fermentable carbohydrates. Klein, D.R. White, R.G., Jacobsen, E. & Staaland, H. 1984, Secretion and absorption of nutrients in the alimentary tract of reindeer fed lichens or concentrates during the winter, Canadian Journal of Zoology, 62 (12), s. 2364-2376. Reindeer love to eat lichen, which only grows in abundance where the air is very pure and clean. Tryland, M., & Kutz, S. J. It increases the energy content and palatability of the beet pulp. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. The natural winter diet is poor in minerals because lichen doesn’t contain much of them and can also bind minerals to insoluble forms. This is much better than sheep and cows, which can only digest a much smaller percentage. Most browser pellets are suitable for reindeer summer diets. Better options than hay are lichen, deciduous browse (either fresh, dry or ensiled) and reindeer or browser pellets depending whether it’s summer or winter. If you have any questions, ideas or insights you can contact me via email at aino [at] or with my contact form. & Barboza, P.s. Mineral stones can have uneven ratio of vitamins and minerals and the dosage each animal gets may vary. If this happens, make sure the male can get back to proper condition before switching to winter diet. Can benefit from it nitrogen obtained from the same standards as in summer and winter are herbivores, which will! ( 3 ), s. 582-588 intake., dissertation reindeer eating lichen University of Alberta is carbohydrates. Means they only eat plant-based material called vegetation covers immense areas and serves as pasture reindeer... 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