There are currently no established nutrient requirements for reindeer. The following tables outline the feed mixtures used by the UAF Reindeer Research Program. These rations have been effective in raising deer in a farmed setting. They should not, however, be taken for official guidelines.
16% Crude Protein(Spring/Summer/Fall) Ration vs 14% Crude Protein Ration(Winter)
We use a higher 16% crude protein based ration in spring, summer and fall due to increased nutritional requirements of the reindeer during spring birth/lactation, rapid summer growth and fall rut/breeding periods. Reindeer feed intake drops during the winter and begins to increase in the spring.
We transition from the summer 16% crude protein diet to the 14% crude protein winter diet in mid to late October (~Oct 20th). It is extremely important to make any diet changes gradually! We begin our transition by replacing 25% of our high protein ration with the low protein ration for a three day period, then increasing it to 50% for three days, then to 75% for three days and then we begin feeding a 100% low protein diet until the spring transition. We begin the transition from the winter 14% crude protein diet to the summer 16% crude protein diet in mid to late February (~Feb 20th). The transition is performed the same way by gradually replacing the 14% crude protein ration with the 16% crude protein ration in 25% increments over a 9 day period until we have transitioned to the 100% 16% crude protein summer diet.
Whitefish Meal vs Soybean Meal
We use Alaska produced whitefish meal as the crude protein source in our standard diet rations. Our studies have shown it to be more efficient for animal production, as well as it being a more locally produced Alaska product. We are using soybean meal for the crude protein source in our contingency ration because it has a longer shelf life than the whitefish meal.
For peak production our animals have access to nugget bluegrass pastures during the growing season in addition to the high protein ration. Our pasture studies have shown nugget bluegrass provides the best production value and we are converting all of our pastures to it.
During spring & summer and after weaning we supplement our yearling and calf diets with willows and forbes for additional nutrients. In the fall we have also use bonemeal to provide extra protein for our calves.
|Reindeer Rations (Whitefish meal)|
|Reindeer Rations (Soybean meal)|
|Feed Component||% of Total DM |
(lbs if mixing 100 lb batch)
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