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Old 01-05-2011, 02:00 AM   #1
mathewsfive
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Default goats eating Christmas trees??

:/ Ok... so I knew they loved fall pumpkins, but I was just on facebook and read a post about there goats get tons of Christmas trees to eat after Christmas... As I am still new to dairy goats I am a little scared to feed them new things unless I am sure it is not going to mess with the flavor of the milk. What else can my girls munch??



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Old 01-05-2011, 02:12 AM   #2
abtowell
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Default Re: goats eating Christmas trees??

It may just me but last year we had a horrible incident with a Christmas tree. We gave it to them to eat. They loved it. In fact they loved it so much there was a bit of a fight. One doe jumped over it and cut her bag, just a little, we thought It was no big deal a few days later it turned into a staph infection. I have since vaccinated my herd againist staph but still was to wary to put in the tree despite their longing looks at it. Not sure if that helps, but wanted to mention it.



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Old 01-05-2011, 02:30 AM   #3
supermom
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Default Re: goats eating Christmas trees??

One time we fed pine needles to our doe and it changed the flavor of the milk very definitely. Others have said their does get pine needles all the time and it doesn't affect their flavor. I'm not sure if they are used to that flavor or it didn't come through in their milk, but our milk tasted .....like pine ;o).

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Old 01-05-2011, 10:01 AM   #4
MRFBarbara
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Default Re: goats eating Christmas trees??

the problem with some Christmas trees is they are treated and sprayed, they spray them so the needles don't fall out as soon.. because they are cut very very early on.. I don't know what they spray them with but I would worry about chemical factors in there..
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Old 01-05-2011, 01:23 PM   #5
tmfinley
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Default Re: goats eating Christmas trees??

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Old 01-05-2011, 02:07 PM   #6
Goat Town
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Default Re: goats eating Christmas trees??

Around here goats will destroy pine trees given access to them. They also eat cedar. If we trim these trees the curttings always go to the goats. We have never noticed any change in milk flavor because of it. That being said, I've never fed a christmas tree to them, but would not do it if I knew it had been treated.

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Old 01-05-2011, 02:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: goats eating Christmas trees??

We do the same as Nicole. Pine is full of great micro-nutrients in the twig bark and is a commonly used cure for scours. We have many acres of pine and if the girls are bored with what's on the menu Don will break out the chainsaw and cut them a pine.Normally in winter when there are fewer things that are green they will get one large tree every couple of weeks and cycle around to mix it in to their daily intake. We have sold milk for many years feeding a highly varied diet and no one ever mentioned a change in the flavor of the milk so I am so fascinated by all these goats with flavored milk. They like cedar too but we have mostly eradicated it locally because of harboring apple rust in a effort to raise fruit without spraying fungicides.

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Old 01-05-2011, 02:51 PM   #8
supermom
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Default Re: goats eating Christmas trees??

Perhaps, Lee, it could be because we were only milking one Nigie at the time, so not getting a lot of milk to begin with . She had scours so we pulled a bunch of fresh pine needles for her (she got better very quickly after that, too, btw). SO she had a lot of very fresh needles. There was no other milk mixed in with her milk...just her quart of milk and it was probably concentrated. That is my guess, but it was very obvious in her milk...enough so it was not drinkable and it smelled...like pine. This is coming from someone who just tasted an off-flavor in milk from a doe who was 2 weeks fresh :O. I drank it in my milk-shake, and it was fine. The kids would have complained if I had given it to them. We had another doe just one week fresh and her milk was fine already. Depends on the doe, I guess.

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Old 01-05-2011, 03:42 PM   #9
dragonlair
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Default Re: goats eating Christmas trees??

I always fed my tree to the goats, and those of my neighbors because...well, this is Maine where most of the countries trees come from. They don't use spray on local trees, so it's not something I have to deal with. My goats LOVE them. I also save all the limbs and such form the pines when they get blown down during a storm and feed them to the girls. They eat the needles first, then the ends and twigs and then they peel the bark from the branches!

If I give them just pine (spruce, fir etc) and none or little hay, the milk will taste like I'm gnawing on a pine branch, but if I give ti to them as a treat after their regular meal, there is no flavor change.

The pine type trees are good for the goats, besides the above mentioned micro-nutrients, the needles contain Vit A and I think D. Plus it makes their breath smell really good and the barn smells so nice!

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Old 01-06-2011, 03:59 AM   #10
mathewsfive
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Default Re: goats eating Christmas trees??

LOVE it!!! Thank you all for your advice. I have a fence line in the back pasture that is loaded with cedars, but the girls don't seem to want them. Do you think if I cut some branches off and put them in a pile as a small treat they would eat them? We have a pretty open pasture so there is not much forage for the girls, mostly just the branches that fall from the pecan trees.



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