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A Chukotka reindeer standing in the front of a herd.The Chukotka breed is a result of selection by the Chukchi. It is reared in the Chukotka and Kamchatka peninsulas and in northeastern Yakutia. The total stock of these animals is about 600,000.


The Chukotka breed is considered to be the most recent and was formed not before the end of the 1st millennium A.D. Their main products are venison and skin; they are not used for transport. Even the herding was done by the Chukchi on foot. To preserve the stock, the most active specimens with a poor herding instinct were culled. As a result a characteristic feature of Chukotka reindeer's appeared - their willingness to graze even poor pastures intensively and without straying from the herd.


The Chukotka reindeers' ability to put on weight (fat) is surpassed by no other breed. This enables them to endure severe winters and lack of food when pastures are covered with an ice crust, which is not an infrequent occurrence.


The prevailing color of Chukotka reindeer is dark brown. The average live weight of stags before rutting season is 130-140 kg and that of hinds 93-96 kg. The live weight of the male fawns at the age of 6 months is 61 kg and of females 58 kg.


A Chukotka reindeer standing in the snow.The Chukotka reindeer are known for their high meat production. Carcass weight of fat adult stags is 60 kg or more. The average slaughter yield is 53-55% and in very fat animals it can exceed 60%. Chukotka reindeer carcasses are also notable for their height meatiness.


Chukotka reindeer are adapted to the tundra plains with their short cool summers and long winters with scare snow cover. Calving occurs 15-20 days earlier than in other breeds. They grow very quickly and by the age of 4-5 months there is already a large reserve of nutrients. Chukotka reindeer are comparatively resistant to necrobacillosis and pulmonary diseases and endure more easily the attacks of bloodsucking insects.


Three pedigree state farms for breeding Chukotka reindeer have been set up; Nizhnekolymski in the Yakut Autonomous Republic, Vozrozhdenie in Magadan region and 50th Anniversary of the USSR in Kamchatka region.


Reindeer of the Chukotka breed are very popular thanks to their early maturity and adaptation to the conditions of arctic and subarctic tundras. They have been introduced into western Yakutia and in the Tamimyr peninsular and are used for crossing with other breeds.




Dmitriez, N.G. and Ernst, L.K. (1989) Animal Genetic Resources of the USSR. Animal Production and Health Paper Publ. by FAO, Rome, 517 pp,

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