Faribault goats feast on unwanted Christmas trees

- With Christmas now over, people will be taking down their Christmas trees and kicking them to the curb. But, there's a recycling program in Faribault, Minnesota that will help you dispose of yours in a special way.

The goats on Jake Langeslag's farm in Faribault usually survive on a steady diet of hay. But this year, they are getting a special holiday treat courtesy of Mother Nature.

Langslag is collecting used Christmas trees so his goats can make pigs of themselves on their pine needles.

"They love them. A big herd [of goats] swarms them and they eat it pretty quick," Langeslag said.

Not only does it keeps the trees out of the landfill, it uses the goats' digestive systems to dispose of the holiday fixtures naturally.  

"A couple of years ago, we saw on social media someone was doing this in Arizona. We thought we'd try it on a small scale on our farm," Langeslag said. "[We] started with 12 trees. The next year, 150. This year hope to do 300 trees." 

Last summer, Fox 9 showed you how Langeslag started Goat Dispatch by renting out his herd to cities, golf courses and homeowners to be "nature's lawn mower" for invasive plant species like wild parsnip and canada thistle that crowd out native plants.

READ MORE: 'Goat Dispatch' uses goats to fight invasive plant species in Minnesota

But this holiday season, the donated Christmas trees block the wind and give the goats a meal that's evergreen.

"Buckthorn doesn't have any leaves and the broad leaf plants have lost their leaves, so evergreens are the only way to get some greenery. So, this is a good source for that," Langeslag said.

Langelag hopes his Christmas Tree recycling program will have everyone, from goats to people, pining for more.

"Its a great win-win," Langeslag said. "The goats get a great benefit Vitamin C. People like to see things get used and recycled. It makes people feel good." 

You can drop off your real Christmas tree that's been stripped of all ornaments and tinsel and not flocked at the River Bend  Nature Center in Faribault until Jan. 21.

If all goes well, Langeslag hopes to expand this idea to the metro next year.

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