While the holiday feasts are usually over for most of us by the time Dec. 26 rolls around, on some farms, the eating is just getting started.
Then, a man carries a small Christmas tree to a goat enclosure. Once he tosses the tree over the fence, the goats are literally jumping over each other to get a nibble of those yuletide branches.
@kate_fs @ Jollity Farm in Garden Valley, California #recyclechristmastree #goatfarm #sustainable ♬ Cows Around – Corb Lund
As it turns out, Christmas trees are a great source of vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients during the winter months — for goats, that is. Goats, who already have a rep for being the recycling cans of the animal world, will eat everything from the needles to the bark on the trees.
“The trees offer antioxidants and trace minerals, a lot of vitamin A and C,” Dana Myers, who owns Scapegoats in Wisconsin, told CBS Minnesota. “And they also have deworming, anti-parasitical properties.”
But it’s not just good for the goats. It’s good for the environment, as well. Each year, approximately 25 to 30 million real trees are brought into homes across the U.S. Unfortunately, many of these trees end up in landfills.
When left to decompose in landfills, organic matter — like trees — produces methane. Most landfills are lined with high-density plastic to prevent toxic waste from leaking into groundwater. This lining means that any of the nutrients created from organic materials breaking down never make it back into the soil.
“Going into the landfill doesn’t really do any good. There’s already enough stuff in the landfill as is,” Myers told CBS Minnesota.
So if you’re looking to recycle your tree this year, try finding a local farm. As it turns out, goats aren’t the only animals who enjoy a tree or two. Turkeys and chickens will roost in recycled trees and donkeys use the branches for scratching posts.
If you can’t find a farm near you taking Christmas trees, you can check your local Home Depot, which runs an annual tree-recycling program. You can also search Earth911’s database to find tree recycling options in your zip code.