SPRING might have sprung, but there was Christmas magic in the air at a Seaham garden centre today.
It was all thanks to the arrival of two baby reindeer who made their grand entrance into the world.
The latest deliveries now increase the herd at Richardson’s Garden Centre up to 15, and there are more to come with three other mums due to give birth in the coming weeks.
Owner George Richardson is delighted with the new arrivals, one called Bergen with the other yet to be named, and says his herd is even beating those in the Arctic Circle which haven’t even started calving yet,
“We looked in the birthing pen at 7am yesterday and there was one baby, then, by midday, another had arrived.
“The little boy, whose mother is called Nosey, is all brown and very much a traditional reindeer, while the little girl, born to Snowdrop, is all white.”
George, who has been running the garden centre for the past 17 years with wife Tracey, first started breeding reindeer in 2008.
The 42-year-old businessman hires his herd out in December for various festive events including light switch-ons and Christmas shindigs.
He said: “Reindeer have been a lifelong passion of mine but they do require quite a lot of looking after.”
With the herd demanding a special diet, George has to provide them with food tailored to a specific Norwegian recipe.
“We have a few acres of land behind the garden centre and next to our house, so we can keep an eye on them day and night,” he added.
The Rut, or breeding season, begins in October when the males on the Cold Hesledon site strut about, impressing the women.
The young calves are born around May and June the following year.
George added: “We knew Snowdrop and Nosey were due to give birth and they usually try to have their young during the mornings as, in the wild, predators are often looming at night times.”