One of our original reindeer, Donner came to us with his brother, Blitzen, from Dr. Cary's farm in New York. Donner was a, full of life reindeer, always in your back pocket people friendly. He was taught to count to 5 and would do so for a treat. Kids giggled non stop by saying, "Donner, count to 5" and Donner begin pawing at the ground sometimes stopping at 3. Donner also had an extremely odd "prey drive" for a prey animal and would chase the Kawasaki mule just by saying, "ready, set, GO!" (although he'd often cheat by crossing a field diagonally to win. Donner never left your side and would often supervise all activities in his pastures, always getting in the way for work or barn cleaning. We miss Donner dearly but we were very fortunate to have him in our lives . Donner was a favorite of my son, his handler, Chris Sliker.
Being the second half of our reindeer dream, Blitzen filled those shoes with his big personality and size to match! Blitzen's sudden loss following a 10 day battle at Ohio State Univ ICU unit for Babesia left us wondering if we would continue. during Blitzen's stay he fought hard and kept going and surprised even Dr. Hind's daily with his will to live, and determination (he had a OSU cheering squad) on day 10 the horrible tick disease took him from renal failure. It left us heartbroken we had only lost his brother, Donner, 8 months prior. Blitzen was affectionately nicknamed "Big Man" he was our largest reindeer he topped the scales at over 350lbs, Blitzen was a gentle giant, . who had a apple treat addiction Blitzen entertained guests with his willingness to take treats from your hand, sometimes 6 or so at times, Blitzen was very loved by us. we've never found another Blitzen, I called him my once in a lifetime reindeer.
Annabelle aka Dasher came to us in 2015 from Diana in Wisconsin, Annabelle was bred and we awaited her baby's birth. She is a shy girl who plays keep away quite well especially from any of us and our vets. Her favorite treat is fresh cut willow, tree sticks, and occasionally apple treats. Annabelle is a wonderful mom and surrogate nursery mom we refer to her as "the felon" because she steals and hoards all the babies from their moms, she will even try to keep alive any abandoned baby, Annabelle is quite a pretty and bossy as she is our herd matriarch. Annabelle will grunt and call to any reindeer leaving the farm to work or simply setting out of the pasture! She will call/bark to the reindeer upon their return. She has to know where every member of her herd is at all times. Annabelle looks very docile and she truly is but she can be quite bratty not wanting people to touch her. Her favorite behavior while out visiting people on displays to to stand and stare at you just out of reach. Only a very special few children have had her approach them for a pat on the nose.
Prancer was our first baby reindeer calf born at Apthorp Farms from mom Annabelle, her passing left us devastated. Prancer was silly, rambunctious, loved splashing in mud puddles and often times got Blitzen into trouble! Although our time with her was to short, she taught us all lot about living life to the fullest everyday you get. Prancer passed at Ohio State University due to anemia. it when we learned first hand the ravages of the barberpole (H, Contortis) parasite and began my 8 year research into eradicating this from our pastures, and herd. Prancer was my granddaughters little reindeer and Brooke cared for her very well, even in her illness and last days. She will be forever missed.
Cupid and her baby boy joined our family June 1, 2017. She came from the same herd as Annabelle in Wisconsin from two wonderful people we cannot thank enough, Diana Richart and Steve Pulera. Cupid was born to Diana's herd and has been a lifelong member at their farm. We are truly thankful for this opportunity to give her a forever home with our herd, as the decision to disseminate her herd was very hard on Diane. Cupid is bossy, outgoing yet very sweet. Cupid will always entertain by approaching people for petting and a treat. She is truly a wonderful reindeer and great mom to her claves. She loves willow and waits, impatiently at the fence for her regular treat! We retired Cupid at age 12 from our breeding program, to let her enjoy her grandma years here at our farm. Her son Yukon and daughter Ginger remain on our farm. She lives with her family.
This guy is Yukon, he has attitude and personality to spare. He is healthy and lively with his independent attitude. He is affectionately named Butt-head on his good days. He's a reindeer who likes to steal keys and peel stickers off the dash of the Kawasaki mule. Yukon basically lets you know he is there in case you miss a 300lb reindeer in your way doing chores!. He has remained a favorite since his arrival in 2017 especially to Kellie Clark who won the naming contest calling him Yukon Cornelius. Look for Yukon at events as he is quite the clown on his non grumpy days. Yukon is the son of Cupid, and has had the luxury to remain with his mom and herd. In 2020 Yukon will be introduced as a breeding bull to a cow of his own to increase our bloodlines. We hold good thoughts and hopes he does well starting our diversification program.
What a guy, nosy, bossy, stubborn, cute and lovable, Sven was a wonderful gesture from some awesome reindeer people at Silly Safari's in Indianapolis Indiana. Emma and John's selfless gesture of allowing us to add Sven to our herd after the loss of Donner and Blitzen is really what kept us in the reindeer game. Sven helped to ease some of the heartache by jumping right into Donner's shoes with the same gregarious attitude that Donner had. Sven is a steer and will no be part of our breeding program but serves us as a wonderful display reindeer that people love to meet. Sven is full of life, and very adventurous going anywhere I do including the kitchen in the house! When you meet Sven you will be entertained by his endless antics! Sven is obsessed by wheels, be it on a stroller, cart, wheelchair or walker, he follows the wheels and tries to lick them. (we find it odd but he makes people laugh) Sven was a gift to our farm provided by my wonderful Aunt Jean and Uncle Michael. He has since been named Sven Again Konopka on his registry papers.
Ava, she is a quiet reindeer. We are happy to see she blended nicely into our herd. Sven and Ava can be inseparable and worked all 2017 Christmas season together. We do know she dislikes vet checks and shots, but she does like animals crackers, oats and willow branches. Ava's recent introduction to Rudy went well, Ava seems to be the mediator keeping everyone from fighting and in harmony with each other. Ava came out of her shell after 2 years with us and is quite fond of our son, Chris Sliker, who worked with her all 2019 season. she seems to be quite funny now that she feels at home often picking up and tossing the apple or molasses treat bag to spill treats on the floor at shows. she then picks her favorite treat eats it and wastes the rest. Ava lost her 2019 calf from a rare birth defect (bulla), Her baby died at OSU at 22hrs old, Ava's calf like our other reindeer, Donner, Blitzen and Prancer returned to our farm after being cremated by the wonderful folks at Green Mountain Equine Cremation Services. We are excited to see her 2020 calf and anxiously hope for the best.
Our newest member, Rudy, is our main breeding bull, originally out of Michigan stock at Carol's farm he then moved with the Ledbetter's to Oklahoma. When Nick chose to sell Rudy, we were excited to purchase Rudy and he has not disappointed a day since his arrival. Rudy graced us with 3 heifer calves in 2019, and had a 100% breeding success rate. Other highlights include he is a very manageable reindeer bull in rut, and has been on displays and posed all 2019 season in the Santa house for families to get pictures with Santa. Everyone who meets Rudy, is impressed and easily falls instantly in love with him. Rudy is a nice boy, easy going even tempered and curious. Rudy is outgoing with people, despite his intimidating size at at 365lbs with 5ft tall antlers at only age 3. Rudy is a suck up to us daily, loves his breakfast and dinner, getting his forehead scratched and trying to chew on Carhartt pockets and sleeves. Rudy gets into everything when you are working, and although he is big and impressive looking hes a really a big dog disguised as a reindeer. He entertains kids with his "be a official reindeer handler" trick where kids hold tightly to Rudolph's lead at all of our events.
Rentier is our newest addition, after loosing a shelter rescue dog, Ciara at 17 yrs old, we began a search via shelters, rescues and breeders for a Doberman. Rentier is the 5th Doberman I have owned since 1985. She is a typical combination of stubborn, sassy and lovable doberman from working German lines out of Whited K9's in Ohio. After being disappointed by a Doberman rescue and a failed private adoption Bill came thru with this great girl. Rentier like all dogs, hogs our bed. She absolutely loves the reindeer so watch for videos of her playing in the pastures with Yukon, Rudy, Sven and the gang as her favorite game is "chase me" . Rentier is very "spoiled" as my husband puts it. She prefers human food, like grilled cheese or carrots and blueberries. Rentier is very protective of her reindeer, people and our granddaughter, Brooke, insuring she alerts you that you are a stranger and not welcome, she also alerts us to birds and leaves with her big girl bark. Otherwise she is happy to sleep on the couch in front of the wood stove watch cable TV (horror movies do scare her) until bedtime. It is our hope to return to a level of our former Police K9 career training, for both Scott and I and train Rentier in basic, advanced and personal protection. She certainly has the lineage for it. Her father is Piram Alba Avis with Schutzhund III/IPO titles in his lineage, her mother is Premier Doberman Cam.
Our first baby of 2019 arrived on Mother's Day, however her short wonderful life only lasted 22hrs. Born with a birth defect causing cardiac and pulmonary compromise, she was stabilized at our vets office transported after we rigged oxygen for a 4hr travel route we have taken far to often. But despite best efforts she passed at Ohio State. We are thankful for her short time, and the wonderful vets who cared for her. Annabelle's Baby Girl is a mystery baby, but after many months we believe she was born to Ava, after Cupid and Annabelle both gave birth to healthy baby girls as well. A story has been written about her and appears of our front page. Annabelle's / Ava's baby girl or baby girl for short, is now finally free of the limits she was unfortunately born with she can now run free, and has a pain free wonderful life across the rainbow bridge. She can run, jump and join Donner, Blitzen, and Prancer in a heavenly herd.
Our second little girl arrived May 22, 2019 at Apthorp Farms to 12 year old mom Cupid. Ginger was born bouncy and strong full of life and escape antics,
She was aptly named after her vet, Dr. Ginger Hobgood at the choosing of our granddaughter, Brooke. Now going into life we are astonished at her growth and vitality. She is a wonderful addition to our herd, and brings smiles to faces thru her facebook fan club following daily. Ginger shows her sister Faith the ropes, her favorite antic so far, besides escapes, eating and running now include sticking you in the butt with her tiny baby antlers when you are in her "area" She seems to take after her mom Cupid and her brother Yukon with regards to bossiness and impatience. We enjoy watching her grow in leaps and bounds, she trained very easily, another attribute from her mom, Cupid. We can't wait to meet the wonderful reindeer she becomes, as she resides here with mom, Cupid and big brother Yukon as well as dad, Rudy.
On June 21st this little surprise appeared unexpectedly, (read the full article on the news page at this site). After what we thought was the loss of Annabelle's first calf, we now suspect may have been a baby Ava had and abandoned and Annabelle stepped in to care for. This baby number two if from Annabelle was 39 days after we thought she lost her 2019 calf was quite a surprising miracle. After a shaky first 2 weeks, Faith Amari (miracle of God) was aptly named. She under went a plasma IV treatment at the farm (also on our news page) and is thriving, quite well. Faith began very social and outgoing with her human herd, and has since picked up some aloof tendencies her mom has, but is still lovable, and easier going than her mom. Faith even received a shout out from Rae Dunn and her Pottery Instragram page when her picture (see above)was submitted, showing Dr. Danielle Mzyk's very important reindeer treats Rae Dunn pottery jar and a once in a lifetime photo captured by Vet Tech Vikki Silva at our vet clinics was a Instagram hit. Faith is a quiet reindeer, loves Sven, and plays bucking bronco! her favorite treat is any, she is not picky. Faith Amari has been a happy surprise ending to our rough start 2019 calving season.
On Easter Sunday (and Scott's birthday) this healthy little bull calf arrived in the world around 9am, to mom Annabelle and dad Rudy. Born at 14lbs Danny is steadily gaining a pound a day. He is very inquisitive and independent with a bit of his mother's stubborn trait showing at day 2 with his tiny front hoof stomp showing his derision (just like Annabelle does).The running joke already is that how does he even know to dislike something, when he doesn't even know what life is yet. LOL he will be quite entertaining as he grows. Danny shows all the gregariousness all the boys in our herd show. His mom is very attentive to him, even licking mud off his little hooves as he run and plays in the pastures mud puddles. He seems fond of his older sisters Ginger and Faith, and also Ava who shares a stall with him and his mom, while Ava is still pregnant and should deliver very soon. We hope she has a healthy calf for Danny to play with as he grows this spring and summer. We are anxious to see what personality traits from his mom and dad emerge. For now, welcome little one, you are the namesake of two special people, our veterinarian Danielle Mzyk and Representative Mike Kelly. Both are responsible for the health and success of our little herd, and we are immensely grateful.
On April 30th we welcomed this little bull calf with both excitement and trepidation as Ava has had a very poor breeding history. This little trooper, amazed us for 3 consecutive days, but in the end a necropsy revealed low surfactant had not allowed proper lung development to occur and cause Savages short little time. Based upon the track record loosing baby reindeer is simply to hard to have either Ava or us endure, and the decision was made to remove Ava from our breeding program and just let her be a display cow and "auntie" to future reindeer. This little guy fought hard even after multiple vet visits for 3 days and his memory, spirit, spunk, and love will not be forgotten. It is the true definition of a life lived to the fullest regardless of the days. Savage was cremated and returned home, as have all our beloved 4 legged family members. He sit with Blitzen, Donner, Prancer and Annabelle's Baby Girl, While his spirit runs free now, free of limitatios or pain in our heavenly herd.