Friday, 25 September 2009

Blitzen!

As mentioned not long ago, our male reindeer Blitzen had started losing his velvet off his antlers. Well it took a few days but it all fell off and he started to get quite aggressive towards the keepers. He kept trying to stab us when we went into his stable and the only way we could go in there with him was with a shield we bought a while ago (an ex riot shield). This meant that he couldn't get moved into their day paddock so he was left behind while the girls spent the day without him. He was not impressed with this and you would hear him grunting and running around wanting to be with the girls. We decided that it would be best for both him and us if we cut his antlers off, so although he would still be grumpy at least he couldn't stab us and we could still walk him to continue his training. This wouldn't hurt him as once all the velvet has fallen off they have no feeling in their antlers.




To do this we needed our vet, Steve, to come in with his cheese wire. First of all we sedated Blitzen and when he was fast asleep set about cutting them off. Below are a couple of videos which show how we did it:

video video

Once it was over he was left in his stable to recover. The keepers think he quite enjoyed this as he is lazy and it was an excuse for him to stay in bed most of the day! When he was fully awake we walked the girls back to him where Comet greeted him by rearing up as if to say 'now you can't hurt us!!'.

Blitzen is now taken for his walk daily with the girls and spends his day in the paddock. He still shows signs of wanting to stab us but at least we now know that he can't hurt us. The stumps that are left will drop off around Novemeber, when male's usually lose their antlers and next year they will still grow normally as this hasn't affected their growth.

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