I used to recommend giving animals Christmas trees. The goats loved to use them as head scratchers and they nibbled on the bark. My rabbit used hers as a hideaway and chewed patterns into it. The chickens appreciated the windbreak.
But last year I heard from a friend. Elizabeth had taken my backyard chicken keeping workshop at my home, had fallen in love with my goats, and got some of her own. (I have a website about hens and goats. If you like my writing, I’ve got ten years worth of blogs here.) After New Years, Elizabeth put her ornaments away and put her Christmas tree in their pen.
The goats almost died.
It was a natural tree. No tags or warnings on it. However, with much sleuthing, Elizabeth discovered that the growers had painted it with numerous toxic chemicals.
I don’t know what this means for the communities who collect trees and compost them, or the oceanfront towns who use them to shore up their dunes. I do know that unless you grow your own, don’t give your animals used Christmas trees.
Elizabeth is getting the word out. She was on the local news. Please share this.
(In the video, note how polite her goats are. Elizabeth consulted with me on goat training!)