for people who love the littlest dairy goats
I've read similar information, so I give the trees to our bucks. Pine needles are also supposed to be a natural dewormer. I don't know if that's true either, but it has never appeared to harm them -- and it's just one tree, once a year.
Years ago when I first read about the problem with abortions, I asked about it online, and a lady from Virginia said that if it were true, she'd never have any kids born on her farm, which makes sense. We have so many white-tailed deer in Illinois that evergreens don't stand a chance. We've planted some in our front yard, and the deer even eat them.
Depending on where you got your tree from I'd be concerned about preservatives & fire-retardants used on it. I won't even let my dogs drink the water from basin at the bottom of the tree. We do have a natural tree farm about an hour and fifteen minutes from here, but we had to go with a grocery store lot tree this year so there's no way I'll feed it to any of my goats.
I don't actually know if any chemicals were used on my tree, but I'm not taking a chance.
IMO, there are a lot of people the SAY there is a reason for something that went wrong on their farm, but it's been my experience that they generally haven't gotten any professional opinions on it. I can say that my goat breeder lets her goats eat their Christmas tree, and she has babies a couple months later. Unless you can find solid autopsy information that says otherwise, I personally wouldn't put TOO much stock in the whole idea... I think Marin is onto more than the idea that it's the trees themselves... seems to me the chemicals might have more to do with pregnancy complications... I personally have fed my goats evergreen trimmings off our property, and they loved them. I didn't have anyone pregnant at the time though, so that's as far as my personal experience goes on that one. :)
Really excellent point about chemicals and other stuff on the tree. One year my SIL offered to give us her tree, and after we got it home we realized it had been spray painted! Yep, it was a real tree, but that lovely green color was not real. Thank goodness I noticed that the branches were the same color before we gave it to any of the goats. The trees that we used to feed our bucks were from a local tree farm, but they closed down a few years ago.
Ok, I'm definitely not going to give the tree to my goats. Thank you for all the advice!
Sprayed evergreens might be harmful, but my goats free range on pasture with evergreen trees and they kidded nicely last year.
That's the same situation my breeder has, Arin... that's why I think it might be something else, and without a necropsy to see what killed an animal, everything is pretty much speculation...except for those with actual life experience (like yours) that says they might be just fine on it. IMO, as long as I know the trees aren't sprayed, I'm comfortable feeding them once in a while. :)
I do note my does do not feed heavily on those trees. Perhaps they realize they can have too much? Not all evergreens are the same however, people use many different types as Christmas trees, it is probably best not to generalize.
Ponderosa pines and some others can cause abortion in goats. Most of our xmas trees here in Pacific NW are firs, which are really good for the goats. In fact, we regularly cut them branches throughout the year. So as long as the tree is not grown on a christmas tree farm (where heavy spraying occurs), a fir would be very safe. As to pines and abortion, this article http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=9977 is helpful, stating it causes effects 48 hours to 2 weeks later.