Christmas Trees

Local Farms Asking for Christmas Trees to Feed Their Goats

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When the goats living on The Farm at Carter Hill hear a whistle, it usually means one thing: snack time. 

Their owner, Mitch Lichatz, stands next to a tall Christmas tree, puts two fingers in his mouth, whistles and the goats come running. 

"It is their treat at the end of the night," said Hazel Lichatz, co-owner of the farm. 

"An ice-cream cone," Mitch added. 

Farms across Connecticut, including The Farm at Carter Hill in Marlborough, are asking for your Christmas trees to feed their goats. 

"More and more, people are asking where they can bring their Christmas tree instead of throwing them in the woods," said Mitch. "Bring it down here." 

Less than a week after Christmas, the farm has already collected about 15 trees from local families. They are inviting more people to simply drive up to the farm and leave their tree for the goats.  

Mitch and Hazel have had goats for about four years and they have been taking in donated Christmas trees for the last three years. The trees usually last the goats through the winter, but the couple says their favorite part about taking the trees is getting to see the community interact with the goats. 

"They are all for people to enjoy," said Hazel. 

The DeFilippo family in Ledyard collect Christmas trees for the same reason.

"It is a fun way to let everyone in the community do something useful with the Christmas trees instead of putting them out to the trash," said Vicky DeFilippo.

The DeFilippos own the Big Red Farm. They have been taking in used Christmas trees for several years as well. 

Both farm families told NBC Connecticut they do have to be selective about what trees they are able to take for the goats. They generally only let the goats eat the ones that are from local farms. If the trees come from big box stores the families usually will not take them, for fear that they have been sprayed with chemicals. 

This past May some of the DeFilippo's goats accidentally got a hold of trimmings that had chemicals on them. The goats were pregnant and DeFilippo said the chemicals forced them to go into early labor. Many of the baby goats died.

The family is still accepting Christmas trees, but they are making sure they are being selective. They have let the community know not to drop off any trees that have tinsel or ornaments on them. 

"We did not want one negative experience to take away from something that has become a tradition for our family and the community," said DeFilippo.  

When the goats are done with the trees, they are usually stripped bare. DeFilippo and Lichatz said that the people who drop the trees off usually get a lot of enjoyment out of it too. 

Hazel Lichatz said that if her goats could talk they would probably say, "I love you."

"Because they really do enjoy them," said Lichatz. 

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