The reason for this lower number is respect for our reindeer and their welfare. They are used to roaming freely. Even though their “enclosure” is several miles in circumference, the reindeer should really be grazing in the wilderness. An inevitable stress factor during the summer is that the reindeer are harassed by insects. In the wild they can escape the insect swarms by fleeing up into mountains, and cool off by seeking out patches of snow during the hottest part of the day. On our farm they don’t have that opportunity, but we do offer them our cool garage, which they frequently use when it gets too hot.
In the autumn, we will release the reindeer that are now at home on our farm, bringing back other reindeer that will stay here until April. We never keep any reindeer fenced in longer than ten months. We are eager to give them back the freedom they yearn for!
The main reason we have a much higher number of animals here in the winter is to ensure that the youngest reindeer, which are born in May, have a better chance of surviving. This also helps tame more animals. In the wilderness, reindeer that become at least somewhat tame are easier to work with.