Discuss and learn French: French vocabulary, French grammar, French culture etc.
First time I read such a sentence. A cow, a goat, ok. But a reindeer!
Where did you come across this? Why is it necessarily comic? Don' t they milk reindeer in Lapland? It is quite a big (indigenous) business up there and I can't imagine that they wouldn't also drink the milk.
I know there are lots of jokes about milking various animals (and humans) but ,unless you happen to be in a country where reindeer do not live or are not commercially exploited then it might seem to be one of the less obviously comic situations.
Mind you, I guess it could be extremely dangerous if you did not know how to go about it.(cows are hard enough)
If it was an idiomatic expression , might it possibly just mean "bugger off" or "have you nothing better to be doing" ?
I came across it using the reverso.com translator for something-or-other, and along with the translation, this one was listed without citation under similar phrases and examples. I googled for it and found nothing, which led me to believe it wasn't idiomatic.
My next conjecture was that someone was (humorously) telling another to "get lost" or "bugger off", as you suggested.
I didn't seriously consider that it was meant literally. Of course, it's a possibility, but it just seems unlikely. I wonder whether the Lapps use electric milking machines.
Anyway, I like it enough to repeat it, especially during la Période de Noël.
It's interesting that the city of Rennes didn't get its name from reindeer. I assume it does get some comments as if it did.
It's also interesting that Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Rudolf le Renne au Nez Rouge) isn't called Rudolf the Red-Nosed Caribou in North America, especially considering that Robert May, his creator, came from New York.
That's so funny ! But not very nice ...
As a native speaker, I never heard this expression but my understanding is exactly the same as yours "have you nothing better to be doing?" but it's a bit more rude because we do not have reindeer in france (of course) ... So if I ask you to go milk a reindeer, I expect to get rid of you for a loooooong time.
It's a very elegant/classy (and funny) way to say : "fuck off!"