Our visit to the moose farm in Kostroma

In a previous post I already told you about our first visit of the beautiful city of Kostroma and I also mentioned regretting not having made it to the moose farm. Well, two weeks ago a Belgian friend of mine, Isabelle, paid me a visit (in Yaroslavl! not just Moscow! yes she’s quite adventurous 🙂 ) so this was a great opportunity to go back and see the moose.

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We were very surprised to get a tour from an excellent English-speaking tour guide who was in fact a scientific researcher from Moscow who had been studying moose for almost 40 years!

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The Kostroma moose farm started back in the 60s as an experiment to domesticate moose, mainly for their milk production. Today it is mainly supported by tourists but you can still buy moose milk and the milk is also sold to the nearby Ivan Susanin sanatorium. Wim and Isabelle tasted the milk (unfortunately I couldn’t try it as I’m not allowed to drink unpasteurized milk now that I’m pregnant) and they said it had a very “strong taste”. Not a very a good one, that is. 🙂

We first visited some adult moose that were on the farm, which weren’t many. Most of them were roaming around the reserve of about 36,000 ha and would come back in the evening for dinner (oats). During the day they can munch on branches and bark from the trees that are cut in the area. We fed the moose that had stayed behind some carrots that our guide had kindly provided.

(Notice how in the last picture, a moose decided he wanted to go out after all, blocking our way out. Quite a challenge to get such an animal out of the way!)

After visiting the adults, we had a look at the shed where the yearlings were but they had all been extremely spoiled by the many visitors who had been feeding them carrots all day and were extremely lazy. (Although this might also have had something to do with the warm weather. I guess they like snow more than sun!)

And finally, probably the highlight of our visit, we entered the area of the newborn moose. All of them had been born  between 1 and 2 months ago. Little babies! Or not that little, actually…

(Don’t worry, some of them may look like they’re half dead but they were just suffering a bit from the heat.)

Too bad we were not allowed to pet them (for risk of infection) because they were adorable!

If you’d like to know more about domesticated moose or the Kostoma moose farm, you can have a look at their very informative website (made by our guide!): http://www.moose-farm.ru There are some great pictures  and even advice on how to start a new moose farm (i.e. don’t!). 🙂

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