Public Release: 

New musk ox and reindeer feed now available in Alaska

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Fairbanks, Alaska -The University of Alaska Fairbanks recently signed a licensing agreement with Ken Sherwood of Alaska Garden and Pet Supply to produce reindeer and musk ox food for captive herds in Alaska. The licensing agreement comes as a result of the research of Perry Barboza and John Blake, from the UAF Institute of Arctic Biology and Biology and Wildlife Department. Barboza and Blake conducted experiments on musk ox, caribou and reindeer at UAF's Biological Reserve and Large Animal Research Station. These projects focused on seasonal changes in animal tissue and requirements from protein and trace minerals for reproduction and development. One application of the research is to provide cost-effective, reliable feeds and feeding standards for developing herds of musk ox to produce qiviut, a super-fine underwool.

Qiviut production from captive musk ox is a source of income for rural Alaskans. The sale of raw fiber, processed yarn and finished clothing is a venue for economic diversification uniquely suited to northern communities. The knowledge from this research project could facilitate qiviut production as an Alaskan industry. "Feeding standards are needed to strengthen established husbandry techniques and provide a base for marketable feed formulations," said Barboza. "Right now it's a guessing game for many producers."

The first two rations produced for the project are called "M," a supplement for musk oxen and "D," a complete diet for reindeer and caribou. Alaska Garden and Pet Supply, which also does business as Alaska Mill and Feed, has been licensed by UAF to commercially produce these and other feeds for producers, exhibitors and researchers.

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The research is part of a project funded by the Alaska Science and Technology Foundation.

Note to Editors: more information can be found on the Alaska Science and Technology web site at http://www.astf.org/index.cfm.

CONTACT: Perry Barboza, UAF Institute of Arctic Biology, at 907-474-7142 or e-mail: ffpsb@uaf.edu, or Ken Sherwood, Alaska Mill and Feed/Alaska Garden and Pet Supply at 907-279-4519 or e-mail: akgarden@alaska.net.

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