Solutions for supplementary feeding of reindeer

Coordinator: Anna Skarin, SLU,




Feeding of reindeer in the on-going Formas-funded project Reinfeed. Foto: Anna Skarin

Reindeer husbandry, make use of animals’ natural adaptation to the environment and their ability to transfer otherwise under-utilised resources into meat and other products. In reindeer husbandry supplementary winter-feeding has increased due to competing land use activities and climate change.

Feeding may be beneficial in the short-term, but might be a threat to animal health and welfare and also to risk the animals’ future ability to make use of the natural forage resource, and thereby reduce the possibility to utilize natural pastures.

Exchange is limited

During the last decades there have been increasing discussion about the benefits and risks associated with the intensification of feeding within reindeer management. Discussions are mainly held at a national level, and there is limited exchange of practical experience between countries.

An initiative to overcome this was taken by three Nordic centres of excellence funded by NordForsk (ReiGN, CLINF, Rexsac), who arranged a joint seminar in Kiruna, 2018, focusing on this topic. Herders from Norway, Sweden and Finland participated together with researchers. Many worries were raised by herders from all countries, and it was also clear that experiences and perception of risk factors varied between countries. More joint discussions on the topic were asked for.

Encourage cross-border discussions

Feeding of reindeer in a large fence. Photo: Anna Skarin

With this network we want to encourage cross-border discussions about the future prospects of winter-feeding of reindeer we want to gather reindeer herders, stakeholder organisations and reindeer researchers from Finland, Norway and Sweden in a series of network activities.

We believe that these network activities will encourage knowledge exchange on winter feeding of reindeer, and help to find solutions and mitigation actions to avoid changes in reindeer behaviour that are negative for reindeer and reindeer herding.