WHITE HEATH, Ill. (WCIA) – ‘Tis the season to take down your Christmas tree. You might be getting ready to throw it away, but a group of goats is hoping you’ll let them snack on it.
“You know what piranhas look like when they attack? It’s very similar,” Mitch Gardner said.
A group of piranhas… or… goats?
“It looks sort-of silly – I don’t know how they eat pointy trees, but it doesn’t hurt their tongue. They really don’t care if it hurts their tongue,” one of the Gardner children said.
In fact, Mitch and Sarah Gardner with “Goats on the Go” say pine trees are a healthy treat for goats. They’re asking you to donate yours to the dozens in their herd.
“The jury’s still out. There’s been a little bit of research done. It’s good for their digestive biome to have these pine trees,” Sarah Gardner said. “It helps with upset tummies and that type of thing.”
During summer months, the Gardners use goats for targeted grazing and controlling invasive species.
“We’ll go out to people’s properties and set up [a] fence, and then release the goats to eat away all the brush,” Mitch Gardner said.
That gives the goats a broad palate, until it gets cold outside. Think of it this way: if variety is the spice of life, then pine trees add a dash of excitement to a goat’s winter diet.
“This time of year, all they’re getting is a lot of hay,” Mitch Gardner said. “They don’t get any live trees or anything.”
But you can change that.
“Just drop it off on the trailer, or close to the trailer and we’ll haul it over here to our brush herd and get them fed away,” he said.
It’s a great way to “tree-cycle.”
“Once they take away all the trees, then you can cut it up into logs and use it as firewood,” one of the Gardner children said.
If you’d like to donate your Christmas tree, be sure to remove all of the decorations first. That includes any tinsel, garland, ornament hooks or other materials that could be harmful to the goats. The trees must be real pine trees, and cannot be painted or sprayed. You can drop them off on or near the trailer at the corner of South Meridian Street and Sunset Lane in White Heath. The trailer will be there until January 13.