Discarded Christmas trees bring joy to farm animals

13.01.2022 - 11:47
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 Mynd: Sölvi Andrason - Rúv
Owners of animals, especially including horses and goats, are increasingly interested in sourcing old Christmas trees. The animals like the taste of the trees, which are full of nutrients, while horses use them equally as toys.

Around 40,000 real Christmas trees are being thrown away in Iceland this January, and more than ever are going to farms and stables.

Vilhjálmur Grímsson, goat farmer: 
"This is a spruce, I think."
Does the species make a difference?
“No, not much difference.” 
You’ve got another tree here that’s pretty well-gnawed. When did you give them that?
“That was on The Thirteenth [day of Christmas (6th January)] when the trees were taken down. And that’s how they treat it. They don’t want it if the tree starts to harden, when the bark hardens and the needles dry up, they don't like that. They want it green.”

Helga Gunnarsdóttir, horse vet: 
“We need to make sure they don’t have totally free access to them; that they don’t gnaw too much. We remove the Christmas trees when they’re well gnawed. Of course, we have horses in stables: we are taking them out of their natural environment, which is the plains. So this is definitely entertainment and a game [for them] which can be important to them.” 

María Jespersen, equestrian: 
“I always come here after Christmas, to the household waste centre, hoping for a treasure chest. That is to say, Christmas trees for my horses.” 
And what trees do you want most?
“I want pine, because they have soft needles. They gnaw it a lot, but they also enjoy playing with them, and it is not least that: that they are toys [for them].” 

Rósa María Stefánsdóttir, equestrian: 
“I give them Christmas trees so they have something to do. They use it as entertainment or a toy. I have some horses here who were fighting a bit and being pretty rough with one another out here in the yard. They just started playing and using the trees in tug-o-war, throwing them to one another, eating them. It makes quite a difference. This psychological side.”

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Alexander Elliott
Fréttastofa RÚV