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Destination Recreation: Vermont Reindeer Farm - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Destination Recreation: Vermont Reindeer Farm

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WEST CHARLESTON, Vt. -

The songs may say otherwise, but in the Northeast Kingdom, they know Santa's reindeer don't only live in the North Pole.

"It was just kind-of a fun venture. We had no idea where it was going to lead to," says Pauline Broe, who runs the Vermont Reindeer Farm.

It's the only reindeer farm in the state. And as Pauline Broe found out a few years ago, trying something new means sometimes you have to learn as you go.

"We thought -- they have a four-part stomach like a cow so we thought, oh, they're going to be like a cow, we'll treat them like a cow. They're nothing like a cow," she says.

Broe says reindeer are shy, and their two -- Prancer and Comet -- each have distinctive personalities. Prancer is calmer with groups, and while Comet is protective of her, he will eat from Broe's hand. And like most animals, whether they'll behave for the cameras is entirely up to them.

But diva personality or not, Broe says they're worth it.

"It's a ton of work, don't get me wrong. When you bring the animals out you have to remember SO much stuff, but it causes a lot of happiness. And not just at Christmas -- year-round," she says.

Prancer is often brought to events, and even though you can't pet her, you can pose for a picture.

And for those who want to get more up close than the reindeer allow, there's Mr. Jingles, the Christmas donkey, who loves to be petted.

"He actually carries candy canes and gives them to children, so that's fun. They love to get a candy cane from Mr. Jingles," Broe says.

He's one of many other creatures at the reindeer farm, including goats and a potbellied pig named Wilbur who thinks he's a dog.

"He likes to run around the yard with the dogs, he'll actually sit for treats -- he's actually a very affectionate pig," she says.

And there are also guinea fowl, which Broe says live in the pen and eat the ticks that could endanger their reindeer. Eventually Pauline wants to have a reindeer family, but there's too much going on now to plan for that.

After all, Comet and Prancer have an important job to do this week.

"Every Christmas morning, our grandsons look and there are always sleigh tracks out there in the pen, so we know Santa comes," she says.

And if you'd like to meet Prancer and Comet, the farm will be open this Sunday, Monday, and Friday and Saturday for visitors. That's from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can find more information on the Vermont Reindeer Farm Facebook page or by calling (802) 754-9583.

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