Arboretum News

Food for Reindeer & Friends

Pull together a last minute snack for reindeer.

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Make a little snack for the reindeer and other animals in your neighborhood. Photo by Reba Luiken.

By Reba Luiken, Arboretum coordinator of informal interpretation

Both reindeer and birds need refueling during a long Minnesota winter night.  Unfortunately, a lot of the reindeer food you can buy or make contains plastic glitter that is harmful for reindeer and their animal friends. This recipe offers an animal-safe alternative that reindeer will love. Your local birds will be hoping that any visiting reindeer are messy or forgetful eaters. 

All of the ingredients listed below are just suggestions. Use what you have on hand.

– Rolled oats – This is the basis of a healthy reindeer diet. 
– Bird seed – Whatever you have on hand will do. I used sunflower seeds.
– Grated cheese – Add a bit of protein and color into the mix.
– Edible glitter – Whatever you do, don’t add plastic glitter into your food because it is toxic for reindeer and other animals and will cause pollution in our environment.
– Craisins – Birds will love this sweet treat, but make sure you don’t include raisins if a dog might have a chance to sample your food because they are toxic to dogs.


1. Ready your supplies and add them to a small plastic bag or container. 

2. Shake to mix.

3. Spread your reindeer food somewhere outside where reindeer and their bird friends will be able to find it!

Based on a recipe by

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