Nothing signals the end of the holidays like seeing Christmas trees on the side of the road for recycling. 

Another way people reuse their trees is by feeding them to goats. It can be a fun thing to watch, but some farmers said this isn’t always the best practice. 

What You Need To Know

  • Christmas trees can be dropped off at various goat farms as a way to recycle after the holidays

  • Some Christmas trees are sprayed with pesticides which make them harmful to ingest

  • Goat farmers recommend finding out if the tree has chemicals or recycling trees to your local agency

“There’s so much good to be had. You’re getting to recycle your Christmas tree and it’s going to a place than can be using it second-hand,” said O’Brien Farm CNY Owner Danielle Bagozi. “I just think people don’t know all of the potential dangers and risks that are associated."

Year after year, people look forward to seeing goat farms use Christmas trees as a special treat for their animals. However, it’s not always safe. Bagozi prefers to feed their goats natural forage.

“Christmas tree farms typically spray their tress with pesticides to keep them free from bugs. Unknowing customers who purchase the trees, maybe not from a local farm but a big box store, aren’t aware of the chemicals that are on the trees,” said Bagozi. 

Danielle and Liam started their farm in 2017 with chickens. Shortly after, they began breeding Nigerian Dwarf and Nubian goats. They take their job seriously, making sure the goats are up to breeding standards and are well cared for. 

"Our favorite thing about raising goats is entertainment and the lovability factor. They are so sweet and so much fun, we can be entertained for hours. They are probably one of the easier livestock,” said Bagozi.

These goats are eating white pine from the trees in their backyard, which is much less risky than feeding them a Fraser Fir.

“Worst case scenario would be death, otherwise a trip to the next thing. They can cause neurological damage, all sorts of metabolic issues. Just really not good for you,” said Bagozi.

Although there are some potential risks, that doesn’t mean we have to stop feeding coats Christmas trees. But it’s important to know where the tree comes from and how it’s treated for before serving it as a snack.

“Unfortunately, many tree farmers don’t put those out because they don’t normally intend for their produce to be eaten. They are Christmas trees to be enjoyed for the holiday,” said Bagozi.

So, next year give the gift of health to the goats and maybe opt to recycle your tree with your local agency.