Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Christmas tree eating goats to debut at River Bend January 22, 2016

WHEN I FIRST READ about goats eating Christmas trees, I was skeptical. But then I watched a video on Goat Dispatch and saw for myself goats devouring these sharp-needled evergreens.

This Sunday afternoon, January 24, River Bend Nature Center in Faribault will feature the Christmas tree eating goats at Winterfest. The event runs from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Randy unloads our Christmas tree.

Randy unloads our Christmas tree.

Last Sunday afternoon, on one of Minnesota’s coldest winter days thus far this season, my husband and I headed across town to River Bend. The parking lot was empty as we unlatched our Charlie Brown tree from the roof of the van and Randy pulled it onto a pile of discarded holiday trees.

I photographed these goats grazing in a pasture near Northfield in August 2015. They are not a part of Goat Dispatch.

I photographed these goats grazing in a pasture near Northfield in August 2015. They are not a part of Goat Dispatch.

I remember as a child reading that goats will eat tin cans. I may have gotten that idea from The Three Billy Goats Gruff, a favorite childhood fable. Myth or truth? Probably truth.

Goats graze on buckthorn at River Bend Nature Center, Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo October 2014.

Goats graze on buckthorn at River Bend Nature Center, Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo October 2014.

Goat Dispatch, a rural Faribault business that rents out goats for land management/brush removal grazing, states online that goats have narrow strong mouths. I would expect that given Goat Dispatch goats have attacked invasive buckthorn at River Bend. I’m quite familiar with the sharp thorns of buckthorn.

This sign was posted on a fence enclosing Goat Dispatch goats at River Bend. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo October 2014.

This sign was posted on a fence enclosing Goat Dispatch goats at River Bend. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo October 2014.

And I personally know Goat Dispatch owners Jake and Amanda Langeslag. This young couple is about as down-to-earth friendly and honest as they come. They are passionate about the environment and their goats and their business. If they say goats eat Christmas trees—and they show that in a video—I believe them.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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28 Responses to “Christmas tree eating goats to debut at River Bend”

  1. Dan Traun Says:

    Love this. Great concept.

  2. Almost Iowa Says:

    And I get an upset stomach from eating pepperoni pizza. 😦

  3. Beth Ann Says:

    Crunch, crunch, crunch. 🙂 Aaron used to date a girl who had a goat landscaping business . They work hard, that is for sure! 🙂

  4. That’s awesome. I love it!

  5. Littlesundog Says:

    What a terrific idea and a great problem solver! To boot it’s a natural solution!! HooRAY!!! 😀

  6. Goodness, what a fantastic idea!

  7. Don Says:

    Hummm….. a belated Christmas dinner!

  8. Gunny Says:

    Not sure what all a goat will eat. I have found that deer here will eat most anything not poison. Deer here eat cactus, tree leaves and all sorts of other stuff and about every flower I find. While most of God’s creatures are “cute”, I really do not want to mess with any of them unless they are domesticated! I ran into a rather large “cute” fur-ball on my back porch early one morning. He had a cute “mask” to match (Raccoon). Problem was he wanted the food scrapes behind me that my wife was saving for the compost pile. I politely ducked back into the house and change the “rules” for food scraps.

  9. Jackie Says:

    This is such an interesting concept, goats eating Christmas trees. I hope the goats come hungry 🙂

  10. treadlemusic Says:

    Just like children needing strong guidance to ‘funnel’ that unlimited energy of theirs, goats’ voracious eating tendencies can have positive outcomes, with some creative/constructive channeling!!!!!!!

  11. Sue Ready Says:

    I must say this is one of the most unique concepts I have ever heard of- goats eating Christmas trees. There is a never ending supply. Do you have any idea how many people actually take advantage of this service?
    I love the name and enjoyed the video 🙂
    Sue

  12. Extremely interesting- What a great idea!

  13. carolkean Says:

    Reblogged this on carolkean and commented:
    Goats for hire! Don’t buy weed killer! “Goat Dispatch, a rural Faribault business that rents out goats for land management/brush removal grazing, states online that goats have narrow strong mouths. I would expect that given Goat Dispatch goats have attacked invasive buckthorn at River Bend. I’m quite familiar with the sharp thorns of buckthorn.

    • I just saw a story on a Twin Cities TV station several days ago that the City of Minneapolis is considering hiring Goat Dispatch to get rid of buckthorn. Jake and Amanda Langeslag, who own the company, are the most wonderful young couple with two small children.


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