In Nevada, goats help eat and recycle Christmas trees

You know that goats eat just about anything. But did you know that the menu might include Christmas trees? “They’ll eat the pine needles and leave the skeleton of the tree,” said Vince Thomas, a longtime volunteer firefighter who has come up with a new use for his family-owned goat herding business, “Goat Grazers.” Thomas is launching a new program to use his 40 goats to help recycle Christmas trees. He says he got tired of watching people discard the trees in landfills or dump them on public property, where they became a fire danger.

It was amazing to me to see how many Christmas trees people would just toss out there.

Vince Thomas, volunteer firefighter

Thomas said his goats have been used in the past to help graze in areas with fire-prone weeds along the Sierra’s eastern front. “We thought, ‘What a great way to get rid of the weeds,’” he said. “We had the idea of doing just that with the recycling program and we thought about the trees. And the goats are great employees, they love their job and they don’t complain.” He said he did a lot of research on pine trees. “With cattle and some of the other animals, it can cause miscarriages. But for goats, it’s a natural dewormer, and pine is very high in vitamin C, so it’s healthy for them.”