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Local Farmers Are Asking For People's Christmas Trees To Feed Hungry Goats

When I was a kid, I always knew Christmas was officially over when my dad hauled our Christmas tree out of its stand in the living room and lugged it to the curb for garbage pick-up.

Watching him toss out our thinning beacon of festive cheer was the moment when I realized I'll have to wait another calendar year before good ol' Saint Nicholas drops down our chimney again.

But getting rid of your Christmas tree doesn't have to be a sad thing, especially if you have some particularly hungry goats in your community.

Some local farmers actually ask residents to reconsider tossing out their old Christmas trees and donate them instead.

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According to People, many farm and farm animal rescues/sanctuaries will happily take your green, undecorated, and untreated tree off your hands to give their goats a tasty post-holiday feast.

"It's a friendly and environmental way to get rid of your Christmas tree," Cathy Rosebrock of Florida's Crowley Museum and and Nature Center told WFTS.

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Not only are Christmas trees unbelievably tasty to chomp on, but they're actually good for goats, too!

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"They have natural Vitamin C in them and they also work as a natural de-wormer, so we do give it to them in controlled amounts," Rosebrock said.

One goat farmer even told House Beautiful, "It takes [goats] a day or two, or sometimes just hours. They eat the bark and everything."

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But interested folks are encouraged to avoid donating Christmas trees that have come into contact with any chemicals or herbicides.

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Festive firs that have been hand-cut or grown without chemicals make for perfect goat chow. But those grown or sprayed with additives can pose a serious risk to a goat's health and, if farmers aren't careful, to people's, too.

"What goes into my animals goes into my product, and what goes into my product goes into people," dairy goat farmer Julie Mannix told WGME 13.

That's why she's cautious about feeding her goats just any old Christmas tree: "Every little small step I can make, I will."

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As a general rule, people should be aware of their tree's background before offering it up to goats.

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Dr. Kathryn Williams, a Maine veterinarian, told WGME 13 that goat owners should also take caution in feeding their precious livestock Christmas trees.

"I can say that in general, we don't like to feed any trees that have preservatives or fire-retardant chemicals," she said. "And typically, that [information] should be available on the tag."

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Most farmers also request that those interested in donating their tree reach out beforehand.

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Giving them a call first will let you know if they're accepting trees for their goats, or what kind of trees they prefer to feed their livestock.

h/t: People, WFTS, House Beautiful, WGME 13

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