Cotley Christmas Tree Farm welcomed a highly unexpected arrival in the summer of this year.
Cotley Farm owner, Helen Bowker, says “It turns out that the calf was born a little early and her mother didn’t have any milk at first. Even if she had, the baby reindeer was so small she couldn’t have reached the teats! So for the first 10 days of her life, I had to hand feed her with a bottle. Luckily she grew quickly and was soon able to feed from her mother – which was a relief as reindeer milk is 20% fat so is hard to substitute for a long period. This just goes to show how vulnerable baby reindeer are in the first few weeks – and why it is so rare to have one survive.”
It was decided early on by Helen and Lester - owners of Cotley Farm - that they wanted Devon to decide what to name this adorable new arrival. Once the floodgates opened, over 200 people from around the county submitted name suggestions, which Helen and Lester then had the tough task of shortlisting down to 5. With voting open on 1 December for 3 weeks, this gave ample time for nearly 1000 people to vote for their favourite out of the following names:
- Royal (after the Royal Clarence)
The clear choice, winning with 400 votes, was Willow - a name put forward by 6 year old Lily from Okehampton, who was inspired to suggest it after her recently born baby cousin, Willow.