Ottawa

Goats, elk happy to munch on your used Christmas trees

Goats and elk in the Ottawa area would be more than happy to strip the needles and bark off your used Christmas trees, local farmers say.
This is one of 13 goats at the Constance Creek Wildlife Refuge. The herd can nibble its way through several Christmas trees each day. (CBC News)
Lynne Rowe, owner of the Constance Creek Wildlife Refuge, says her herd of goats can use more than the approximately 30 trees donated each year. (CBC News)
Goats and elk in the Ottawa area would be more than happy to strip the needles and bark off your used Christmas trees, local farmers say.

"They strip it right down; all of the needles and all of the bark will be totally stripped away," says Lynne Rowe, owner of the Constance Creek Wildlife Refuge in Dunrobin, Ont., just west of Ottawa.

Her herd of 13 goats can strip about three trees each day, she says. The refuge typically gets about 30 trees donated per year, but they'd like more.

"It's healthy for them; they get all excited about the trees coming in. They run to the trees instead of their hay, which gets boring, and it provides them with lots of nutrients and lots of flavour, and the goats prefer to eat off trees than off the ground," Rowe says.

"They can certainly put away more than the 30 trees we usually get. As many trees as get dropped off we're able to make use of."

Thom Van Eeghan, owner of the Elk Ranch in Kanata, says about 50 to 60 trees are donated each year. (CBC News)
​Thom Van Eeghan, who owns the Elk Ranch in Kanata, has been giving donated Christmas trees to his herds of elk for about five years.

"Yeah, it is a treat. It's something to change their diet because they've eaten most of the greenery around at their level, so this is something they can forage," he says.

The ranch gets about 50 to 60 trees each year, and they encourage families to come through to see the elk and drop off used trees.

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