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Christmas Trees and Goats

Posted by on January 12, 2015

There’s a lot out there about Christmas trees and goats. Do you or do you not give your Christmas trees to your goats? You can find just about every argument on the internet, for one side or the other. And, of course, Facebook is always the center of a heated “conversation.”

Goats and Christmas Trees... Yes or No? IdlewildAlaska

Just like any other animal, there’s a long list of what you can or cannot feed goats. Contrary to popular opinion, goats do NOT eat “everything.” Like other ruminants, they are grazers, but unlike cows, goats prefer weeds, bushes, leaves, and bark, instead of grass.

Dairy Goats - IdlewildAlaska


On the pro side, a lot of people feed their Christmas trees to their goats every year and don’t seem to have any problems. Green Eggs & Goats recycles her tree this way.

On the other side, there’s potential scientific research about resin and goats. Some resins are thought to be toxic for goats, potentially causing miscarriages. Dairy Goat Journal specifically warns against Ponderosa pine needles.

We got our tree this year the old fashioned way – went out in the woods and chopped down an Alaskan spruce tree. After keeping it in a tree stand of water, it sprouted all kinds of new growth. Poor confused tree. After the holidays, we pulled off all of the ornaments and lights and tossed it over the fence. The girls cleaned off the new growth in nothing flat. Then they got started on the bark. Strip after strip came off.

Goats eat Christmas trees - IdlewildAlaska

They’ve been working on it for over a week!

Now one thing I do know for sure, if we had bought our tree, I probably would not give it to the goats. Who knows what sorts of chemicals have been sprayed on those things. Plus, neither of our girls are prego, so I don’t have to worry about a miscarriage. If either of them were, I may rethink tossing the tree over the fence.

Saanen Goats - IdlewildAlaska

Do you have any more treats?!?

For more info on what to feed your goats, Weed ’em & Reap has a great post! Read it HERE.

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10 Responses to Christmas Trees and Goats

  1. Lindi

    Wow! I feel like I just learned a lot about goats that I didn’t know before! Thanks for sharing! Cool post 🙂
    Lindi @

  2. Madeline B.

    I give our Christmas trees to the goats. The trees come off our property and I know they have no chemicals or anything on them and the goats clean them up, needles and bark and smaller twigs in no time! They also love willow branches but won’t touch the poplars. I think, animals know, for the most part, what is good for them and what isn’t. For the most part. My girls were both pregnant last January when they received our tree and between the two of them, they gave me three very healthy kids. First time mamas, too. I think, as animal owners, we coddle them too much. I depend on my kids for extra income, especially now that I am building a cabin, but I find no need to constantly monitor what they eat. Same with my horses. If I listened to everything horse people say, I might as well as not own them because I’d have no money! Haha!

    • IdlewildAlaska

      I agree about most animals knowing. Granted, I’m going to make sure my goats can’t get into the chicken feed and over eat lol. Glad to hear your girls did well kidding last year!

  3. Ashleigh Nicole

    Wow that’s very interesting, I never thought of feeding goats Christmas trees. Glad to know this information for my future goats!!

  4. Jen @ The Easy Homestead

    Thanks for posting this! There is so much conflicting info out there about this (and every other subject). If I got my Christmas tree from my property I would probably feed it to my goats. I did like reading both sides though. I try to do things the way our ancestors did- and both they and their animals survived. If I listened to all the No-No’s I wouldn’t have kids or animals- nor could afford them! Ha!


  5. Megan

    That’s actually such an incredible way to recycle! Even better than compost, maybe. I know there are a lot of animal sanctuaries out there that ask for people to donate trees, and then the animals there play with them, so I can’t imagine even commercially-sold trees have too many harmful chemicals.

  6. Terri Presser

    We don’t keep goats we keep cows for milking, so I don’t know a heap about them. Thanks for this I enjoy reading and learning new things, so great info. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

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