Eco-friendly reindeer food: How to make reindeer food

Johnny Kingdom travels to Lapland to see wild reindeer

Reindeer food is magical stuff and the perfect way to thank Rudolf and the gang for delivering your Christmas presents safely before Christmas Day. It’s the busiest night of the year for the reindeers, so a quick snack will be much appreciated. Express.co.uk talks you through how to make reindeer food, according to the RSPCA.

Sprinkling reindeer food in your garden is very thoughtful, but sometimes damaging to wildlife and the environment.

While reindeers may thrive on sequins and glitter, tiny bits of plastic could potentially harm any other animal that gobbles up the leftovers.

Every year, the RSPCA reminds all children and parents that certain ingredients could cause ‘long term damage’ to the digestive systems of small animals.

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Don’t worry, there is a way to make reindeer food that is safe for reindeer, other mammals and small birds alike.

The RSPCA site explains: “You don’t need to go and buy them special food (often the food you can buy in the shops is full of glitter, which is very bad for flying reindeer and other garden wildlife) – chances are you have just what they love in your store cupboards anyway!”

The animal welfare group has produced an animal-friendly recipe for reindeer food and an additional reindeer cookie recipe.

Reindeer food recipe

Ingredients

  • A handful of wild bird seed (which may include sunflower hearts, naked rolled oats, dried mealworms, yellow millet, kibbled peanuts and black sunflower seeds) – this is what helps the reindeers fly!
  • A few rolled oats.
  • Some dried fruit, like cranberries (if you have a dog, please don’t use grapes, raisins, sultanas or currants as these can be poisonous for them).
  • Some dried insects – Rudolph and his bird friends love mealworms and waxworms. Some grated cheese.
  • A hint of chilli powder – it helps keep Rudolph’s nose glowing red and will stop squirrels and rodents from stealing the food before Rudolph arrives!

Method

Mix it all together, then sprinkle it on your lawn or leave it in a bowl by your front door just before you go to bed.

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Method

Ask a grown-up to melt the lard or suet in a saucepan over a low heat, but not to let it boil.

When melted, you can add in the wild bird seed mix (carefully, it’s hot!) and stir it in, making sure it all sticks together well.

When mixed, leave to one side for 10 minutes so it starts to set.

Whilst still soft, spoon into the lined baking tray. Make sure it is evenly spread and at least 2cm deep throughout.

Put the baking tray in the fridge to cool for about 30 minutes.

Remove from the fridge and lift the mixture out of the baking tray on the greaseproof paper. You should have a fairly solid slab.

Use your cookie cutters to cut out your reindeer cookies (if you have any leftover bits you could crumble them up and put them out for the garden birds to enjoy).

Leave them to cool, ideally in the fridge overnight.

Once set, they’re ready to go outside for Rudolph!

You can either leave them on a bird table, or perhaps hang them from a tree by tying some natural string around them.

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