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Goats at New Era farm are 'pining' for your leftover Christmas trees

"They descend upon the tree as if it's the greatest thing they've ever seen," said Jenny Ferels.

All the presents have been unwrapped. Most of the leftovers have been eaten, and friends and family have returned to their lives.

Christmas is over. 

The hustle and bustle has ended for another year. 

One thing remains - what to do with the Christmas tree?

A farm in New Era is offering a unique way for you to not only dispose of your tree, but also help a herd of goats get the nutrients they need to stay healthy over the winter months.

"We have been asking for leftover Christmas trees for the last 15 years," said Jenny Ferels, who does public relations for Lewis Farms & Petting Zoo. "We're being blessed with an abundance of trees to last the goats all winter long."

Ever since Christmas ended last week, people have been driving to the farm from all over West Michigan to drop off their trees. Each tree is closely inspected by staff members at the farm and stripped of any extraneous ornaments. The tree is then taken to one of the goat pens where it is dropped inside.

"The goats aren't shy," said Ferels. "Once they see a fresh tree, they go to town."

When Ferels says, 'Go to town', she means the goats start eating the pine needles off the tree in a furious frenzy.

"They kind of descend upon the tree as if it's the greatest thing they've ever seen," added Ferels. "The pine needles are rich in Vitamin C and they're also a natural worm control for the goats.

"They smell a lot better after they've been playing in pine."

Ferels put out a news release a couple weeks ago about the goats eating leftover Christmas trees. Local media as well as national outlets took the news viral, which has caused this season's crop of trees to pile up higher than in any previous year.

"What's more fun than donating [a Christmas tree] to a bunch of goats," said Ferels. "Our goats have been so happy."

Ferels says Lewis Farms will be accepting leftover Christmas trees through the month of January. Just bring your tree to their location in New Era (4180 W M-20) and drop it off in the main parking lot right next to the sign that says, "Thank you for the tree-mendous treat!"

"Please, no flocked (frosted) trees, and please make sure that all decorations are removed," added Ferels. "Tinsel loses its luster when half-digested in a pile of goat droppings."

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