goats eating Christmas trees??

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by mathewsfive, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. mathewsfive

    mathewsfive New Member

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    :/ 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??
     
  2. abtowell

    abtowell New Member

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    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.
     

  3. supermom

    supermom New Member

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    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).
     
  4. MRFBarbara

    MRFBarbara Guest

    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..
    Barb
     
  5. tmfinley

    tmfinley New Member

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    :yeahthat
     
  6. Goat Town

    Goat Town Member

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    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.
     
  7. buckrun

    buckrun New Member

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    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.
     
  8. supermom

    supermom New Member

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    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.
     
  9. dragonlair

    dragonlair New Member

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    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!
     
  10. mathewsfive

    mathewsfive New Member

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    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.
     
  11. Goat Town

    Goat Town Member

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    As you know in Oklahoma the red cedar is invasive. If you can get you goats to eat them, you'll be improving your property by reducing fire danger and providing more water for other trees and grasses. You can try giving them branches, but my observation is they prefer the bark. Once they strip the bark around the tree they'll kill it and you'll end up cutting it down. Put one of those trees on a burn pile, watch it flare up, and you'll understand why they're a fire danger.
     
  12. prairie nights

    prairie nights New Member

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    I agree that goats love pine and cedars, but would not feed the Christmas tree :)

    Jessica, they might not want to wander that far over there, 2 goats is still a pretty small herd and there is safety in numbers, I'd assume they'd be naturally hanging out more towards the house or where they can see you (the food source, ha !). But yes, we cut branches this time of year or I walk mine out where the trees are, they devour the pines and it's added nutrition during the pregnancy - I also believe pine tree needles are alkaline?
     
  13. mathewsfive

    mathewsfive New Member

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    Thats a good idea. I will take my morning walk in that direction and stand with them out there for a bit and see if I can get them to munch on them a while.
     
  14. Fly to the Moon

    Fly to the Moon New Member

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    o_O How do you preserve trees you like to have around? Can you wrap wire fencing around the trunks? Chicken wire or something? I figured they'd eat the bushes and small trees, I didn't realize they'd go after mature trees.
     
  15. mathewsfive

    mathewsfive New Member

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    I have pecan trees out where my girls are. They don't really bother them because the branches are higher than the girls can get. They do love it when a limb falls off but I think mostly they eat up the ceders and pines and such because of the sap in them. (Just my thought not possitive). They only grab the leaves and pecans off the limbs that fall from our trees, not the limb itself.
     
  16. Jryan

    Jryan New Member

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    Depends on the goats but some (mine and my friends) will also eat your good trees - Crape Myrtals, decorative bushes, flowers, etc.
     
  17. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    We live in the piney woods so of course mine eat pine, oaks and hickorys daily, they will eat the small trees coming up but don't do alot of damage to mature trees because they have so much to eat besides barking the tree. Be very careful of all foundation plantings most in the south are poisonous.
     
  18. Fly to the Moon

    Fly to the Moon New Member

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    I do not know what this means! Well, poisonous I know. What are foundation plantings? Most of what we have on property is native to this area.
     
  19. mathewsfive

    mathewsfive New Member

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    starts... In my experience most of the shrubs, bushes mentioned above are not in the goat pen so unless the goats get out you don't have to worry about them.. I would say if your trees are tall then the goats will leave them alone. Unlike pine and ceder where they grow stems all the way to the ground.
     
  20. Goat Town

    Goat Town Member

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    Ann Marie,

    It has been my experience that the only way to keep the goats off trees or plants I don't want them to eat is to fence so they do not have access to the trees or plants. Last summer, my goats escaped and ran amuck in the neighborhood. They went across the street and munched on a neighbor's trees. I ended up fencing around those trees in case the goats decided to go over there again.