Disposal by goat: Winnipeg farm offers unique way to recycle your Christmas tree

The goats at Aurora Farm are hungry for your Christmas trees.
The goats at Aurora Farm are hungry for your Christmas trees. Aurora Farm / Instagram

Still hanging onto your Christmas tree in the New Year? A Winnipeg farm is offering a unique way of recycle your natural tree: disposal by goat.

Aynsleigh Kerchak of Aurora Farm told 680 CJOB that the farm’s herd of dairy goats loves to chow down on evergreens, and they receive hundreds of donated trees each year.

“Goats are actually browsers, they’re called, instead of grazers, so given the choice, they’ll always eat trees,” said Kerchak.

“They will eat trees down to the bark. They enjoy eating the bark, they enjoy eating the needles… so you kind of have to keep it a special treat for them unless you want all of your trees to be gone.

“This is their favourite time of year.”

The farm, which produces goat-milk soap, among other products, has been using the trees as a holiday treat for their animals for over a decade, but only recently started reaching out to the public for tree donations.

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READ MORE: Winnipeg asking residents to ‘chip in’ by recycling Christmas trees

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Yummy Christmas Trees! Thank you to the first couple folks dropping off trees. When you're done with your tree, we'd love to feed it to the goats – they can be dropped off anytime between 11am-4pm on the weekends (or send us a message if you'd like to drop it off midweek). If you peek in the background you can see they've had some trees/branches to snack on already (some from the Thanksgiving treepocalypse) – they'll eat all the bark off of them as well as the needles. It's really good for them and they'll eat these trees all the way into the Spring. Evergreen needles are a natural dewormer – last spring, we didn't have any worms show up on the tests for the goats! #aurorafarm #goats #winnipeg #manitoba #delicious #trees #christmastree #recycling

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The evergreens aren’t only a delicious snack for the goats, said Kerchak, but they also have health benefits.

“They’re natural de-wormers for their system and they’re a nice little health boost for them this time of year when everything’s a bit dry and not as fresh and green,” she said.

“Last year, we got so many trees that in the springtime that we didn’t need to de-worm our goats as we always do, because they ate so many needles. The goats really appreciate it.”

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Kerchak said the goats will eat the trees throughout the winter and into the spring, at which point anything remaining will be used as wood chips for the farm’s gardens.

The farm, on Waverley Street, just within city limits, is accepting trees on weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“I know a lot of people are worried if their trees have been painted or treated somehow, but the goats are really smart, and especially when they have a lot of options for trees, they won’t eat them,” she said.

Just make sure you’ve removed all of your ornaments.

If disposal by goat isn’t your preferred way to recycle your natural Christmas tree, the City of Winnipeg also offers a tree recycling program.

The Let’s Chip In program, which is aimed at keeping trees out of the landfill, is back for its 29th year and runs until Jan. 31.

Trees dropped off at one of the city’s 10 locations will be chipped into mulch, which residents can pick up for free to use for projects.

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City supervisor of waste diversion Mark Kinsley told Global News on Monday that the program has gathered almost 400,000 trees over its history.

“It follows other programs of making the landfill last as long as we can and keeping resources out of it so they can be reused. You can get something out of it as well,” he said.

Click to play video: 'The process of recycling your Christmas Tree' The process of recycling your Christmas Tree
The process of recycling your Christmas Tree – Dec 30, 2019

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