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Animal Watch: Meet “Rudolph’s cousins” at Reindeer Ranch

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Drayton, ND (WDAZ-TV) - Reindeer aren't just Santa's sidekicks, to some kids, and adults, they're the main event.

You know Dash and Dancer and Prancer...but do you know Robin, Ernie and Chocolate?

They are just some of the reindeer at Reindeer Ranch.

“Nobody around actually realizes that reindeer are actually a real animal...everybody, you k now, it's just a wives tale,” said Kyle Hoselton.

Starting the states only privately owned Reindeer Ranch in the late 90's, the Hoseltons first raised buffalo on their Drayton farm, but didn't have enough land for the animals.

“My wife asked me what I wanted to get next and the first thing that came to my head and I kind of joked and said reindeer,” said Vernon Hoselton, Reindeer Ranch Co-Owner.

A relative to the caribou, the Hoselton's said reindeer are intelligent, trainable and used in every area of life. 

“They're used for meat, milk which they say one drop of milk from a reindeer will turn black coffee white, it's that rich. They're a pack animal, you can ride them,” said Hoselton.

This is Norma and Iggy. As heard animals they're actually calmer when they're together or around people.

With seven reindeer on the ranch, this holiday season is a busy time for the family, bringing them to shows, malls and small towns across North Dakota.

“Usually we bring in a crowd because if anybody knows we're coming they're going to come to see us,” said Hoselton.

It's not just kids lining up to see Santa's helpers…

“The youngest one I had out here was 105 and she enjoyed them just as much as a two year old would, seeing them for the first time,” said Hoselton.

The Hoselton's said they enjoy sharing the reindeer with others, educating people with reindeer facts.

“Reindeer are one of the few deer that both male and female have antlers…they have a velvet that grows on the outside of them,” said Hoselton.

And they said Christmas questions are always flying around.

“Main question that kids always ask, do they fly? And our answer always is, only Christmas Eve…and these are Rudolph's cousins….or backup reindeer.

Spreading holiday cheer, sharing the very real tale of Santa's other reindeer.