NORTH ADAMS — When Chloe eats her Christmas trees, she likes them better after they dry out. Fresh Christmas trees don’t interest her — they have to be properly aged.
Chloe is an 8-year-old goat and a popular neighborhood character at Mountain Girl Farm, said owner Jenn Barbeau.
“She likes it dead and dry,” Barbeau explained about Chloe's Christmas tree preferences. “It’s funny, different goats like different parts of the trees. And the chickens just like the seedlings at the end of the branches.”
She’s been taking in trees and feeding them to her critters for about five years now.
The farm takes in dropped-off Christmas trees through Jan. 10 to help feed five goats, 42 chickens, four ducks and Fred the guinea fowl.
The Christmas trees will last several months as the grazing animals chomp them down bit by bit. The goats will also eat the bark. Once the bark is gone and the trees stripped, they go into the compost pit.
It’s good to get some variety into their diet — something besides the second cut hay and grains they usually dine on.
Also, Barbeau explained, during the winter snow cover, there is no access to the vegetation that goats typically would graze on. Christmas trees give them that outlet.
“The trees keep them really busy in the winter when there's no fresh greens in the yard,” she said.
Folks will come by and drop off their trees at the top of her driveway, after they have been cleared of tinsel and other decorations. From there they go right into the corral.
“We started this as a way to offer the community an opportunity to recycle their Christmas trees,” Barbeau said. “It’s a good way to get the community members to visit the farm and to keep the goats fed.”
Other farms that rakes in retired Christmas trees for their goats are Pine Cobble Farm in North Adams and Holiday Brook Farm in Dalton.