Recycled Christmas trees make a tasty treat for farm animals
Before you haul your Christmas tree out to the curb, consider donating it to a friend or neighbor with goats, sheep or cattle!
Every year we get a live Christmas tree. But it never occurred to me to recycle our trees this way until a friend messaged me asking if we wanted to use her Christmas tree as a snack for our goats once the holidays were over. We took her up on that offer and my goats went bonkers for the tree. The cattle and sheep partook of some of the treat, too. Even better was the fact that her tree was a spruce, while ours was a concolor fir, thus ensuring the herd had some variety when we eventually tossed ours over the fence later. The variety in food introduced through recycled Christmas trees is particularly helpful as the winter diet of hay can get rather monotonous for animals.
Evergreen trees contain trace minerals and nutrients, and can serve as a natural dewormer for ruminants. Just make sure of course that your tree is free of tinsel or any other synthetics. A caution is always that sudden disruption in diet can cause health issues in any animal, and this holds true even when introducing grain. Moderation is key.
Once the needles are eaten, we send the remainder of the Christmas tree through the chipper. The mulch can be used on vegetable gardens and beds.
Cattle and chickens will enjoy leftover pumpkins
(While we are on the subject of goats and evergreens, be aware that azaleas and rhododendron are toxic to goats).
Even though we are in the dead of winter, there seems to be a caboodle of pumpkins still lingering on people’s porches. All of those derelict holiday decorators who are a season behind, you know who you are. (I am one). So if your squash are co-existing with your poinsettia, just know that chickens and also cattle love pumpkins!
Speaking of poinsettias, according to the American Medical Association’s Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants, laboratory testing has shown that ingestion of any parts of the poinsettia plant have not been found to be toxic either to humans or to animals, despite rumor.
Unless the pumpkins have already started to soften and decay, I quarter mine before serving them up to our steers and hens. Last summer, we had a pumpkin vine growing in the middle of our pasture after I rolled a bunch of old field pumpkins there, bowling ball style.The animals were happy for the added vegetation, and munched it down to nothing by fall.