What’s the Best Way to Recycle Your Christmas Tree? Feed it to Our Goats!

Black and silver goats standing near a Christmas tree on its side, ready to eat it.

Of course there are many creative ways to give your live Christmas tree another life after the holidays, but have you ever thought of giving your Christmas tree to a goat? The coarse needles of a Christmas tree are a valuable winter food source for the goats as they provide vitamins, minerals and are believed to offer a natural form of worm prevention. The trees are also considered a “treat” by the goats who, after grazing on a great diversity of vegetation for the majority of the year, long for a tasty diversion from their diet of mainly dry hay during the long, cold winter months.

Here on our New Hampshire farm stay we raise a small herd of cashmere producing goats who love to eat Christmas trees and who would love to eat yours too! The goats naturally start with the tender tips of the branches, eat their way toward the center of the tree until all of the branches are bare, and then use their bottom teeth to scrape off even the bark from the trunk until there’s absolutely nothing green or brown left on the tree. We then let the trees dry to be used as the perfect tinder for a winter bonfire!

Christmas tree lying on its side showing branches with green needles as well as teeth maks on the trunk made by goats. Cashmere goats standing around a Christmas tree they've srcaped all the needles and bark off of.

Natural, unsprayed Christmas trees, free of tinsel are gladly accepted. Trees can be dropped off at the Inn (at the end of the driveway down by the silos) anytime at your convenience or brought to Walpole Valley Farms farm store next time you come to shop! We and the goats, thank you!

If you’re not within an easy driving distance to drop off your tree to our goats, here are some other great environmentally acceptable ways to give your Christmas tree a second life!

Place your tree outside as is to be used as shelter from the wind and cold by wild birds. Consider smearing suet on the branches or hanging pine cones coated with peanut butter and bird seed, strings of pop corn and cranberries, stale bread or fruit slices from the branches to give your feathered friends a welcomed treat.

Cut the boughs off the trunk and place them on your perennial garden beds for winter protection.

If you have a suitable place on your property to let a tree decompose, it can become a shelter or a nursery of sorts small mammals, amphibians and reptiles.

Many communities have tree recycling programs that turn everyone’s old trees into valuable mulch. If you are unable to try any of the above ideas, contact your Public Works Department to find out if they will collect trees curbside or from a central drop-off location.

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