Vermont farm gets new baby reindeer just in time for the holidays

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 4:20 PM EST
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WEST CHARLESTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Just in time for the holidays, the Vermont Reindeer Farm in West Charleston has a new addition to their herd, the first baby reindeer in the Green Mountain State in more than a decade.

“This is our new baby. Her name is Aurora Vixen,” said Pauline Broe with the Vermont Reindeer Farm.

“Vixen” because of, you know, that well-known Christmas tale. And Broe says “Aurora” is a nod to just how far this seven-month-old had to come to call Vermont home. “I think she brought the snow with her from Alaska,” she said.

From a farm outside Anchorage to a flight to Indianapolis and a drive to western New York. And finally, the last stretch to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and arriving late on November 8. “It was a long trip for her. For me, it was like a miracle. The truck was here and oh, here’s a baby,” Broe said.

The Broe family has been looking forward to this new addition for four years. That’s how long it took to get the proper paperwork in order and to save up the $12,000 -- plus airfare -- that Aurora Vixen cost. “We have scrimped and saved and sacrificed and don’t go on vacations, and did that for four years to be able to do this,” Broe said.

They’re the only farm in the state with reindeer, and the last time they had a baby was 14 years ago when they got Prancer. Now, they say Prancer is considered elderly for a reindeer. The grandma will help look after the little one and is already eager to meet her. “She will probably drive Prancer crazy. She’ll be like, Prancer, Prancer, Prancer!” Brow said.

But it’s a slow introduction to start, for both the herd and the humans. Broe has been sitting in the pen with Aurora talking to her to get her acclimated to humans. “The first day, I made no eye contact with her at all. I just kind of sat there and let her get used to my voice. I should get some Christmas music out here, that’s what I should do,” Broe said.

Aurora is still pretty shy because she came from a wild herd, but what she does love, we found out, are willow leaves.

If you want to meet this young reindeer, you’ll need to take a drive. She’s quarantined on the farm until she gets more testing. At the community events around the state they attend this holiday season, visitors will instead see Dasher and Cupid. But thanks to a reindeer baby shower, Aurora Vixen already has fans from all over the country. “People have been sending gifts for her, which is really sweet. The UPS man is here almost every day,” Broe said.

While Santa might like cookies and milk, Broe says graham crackers are a favorite reindeer treat. The family hopes the addition of Aurora Vixen adds a fresh face and gives visitors something to smile about this holiday season. “We just like to make it a fun place for families to come to and we have a lot of families who like to come here,” Broe said.

Visitors need to make an appointment to visit the farm to see Aurora Vixen and the rest of the herd. The money they raise goes toward feeding all of the other farm animals that they care for.