Barra and Benny

As a result of a recent competition, the two new additions at Hoodles Playbarn have now been named.

Anna Stephen, owner of the playbarn decided to run the competition so that people in the community could choose names for the two-year-old reindeer that are now permanent residents at the barn. Entries were submitted via Facebook and the four best names were chosen. Finally, from the four, staff at Hoodles picked out the two names they liked the best.

At the start of the competition Anna said: “Locals are invited to enter the competition. We would love for local families to be involved in suggesting names.

“The names don’t necessarily have to be seasonal and can be anything from plain and simple to weird and wonderful.”

Robbie Green from Oldmeldrum came up with both Barra and Benny and wins a free sleigh ride next year and a book of vouchers to play at Hoodles.

The reindeer, which arrived about four weeks ago, were brought up from England and have settled well in their new home.

Hoodles manager, Marian Scott said: It was an idea Anna and Richard Stephen had. Because we already sell Christmas Trees and we have Santa’s Grotto here at the barn, we thought it would be nice for children to see.

It has been talked about since last summer, and the reindeer arrived here about a month ago.

Barra and Benny will be taught to pull a sleigh and will start their training next year. The first step will be to halter train them once they shed their antlers, and once fully trained will give sleigh rides with Santa in Hoodles Paddock.

Marian continued: “The children have loved seeing Barra and Benny who have settled in really well and they are becoming more friendly as time goes on. I think they are sussing out what is going on around them.

Barra and Benny live inside the barn at the moment, but will come outside in the summer.

In the winter, reindeer eat hay and special nuts, and a variety of fresh plants in the spring. They love fresh plants, including grasses, herbs, lichens, mushrooms and dandelions. It is quite normal for these animals to lose body weight in the winter when there is no fresh forage food, and they regain it in again the spring and summer.

The two runner up names for the reindeer were Peanut and Conker.