Thousands of Skittles intended for cattle feed spill on Wisconsin highway

Posted at 2:06 PM, Jan 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-19 14:06:03-05
Dodge County Skittles on highway

Yes, they’ve been feeding this candy to cows – and they’ve been doing it for years.

DODGE COUNTY, Wis. – This story starts out about Skittles — but ends up being about cows!

The well-known candy was spilled all over County Highway S near Blackbird Road. They were discovered shortly before 9:00 p.m.

No one knew where the candy came from or where it was going, but county road crews said the Skittles spill was actually helpful, as the roads in the area have been icy and the thousands of little candies improved traction.

So that’s one unexpected silver lining from that mishap.

“While we don’t know who did this, it is certainly clear that it may be difficult to ‘Taste the Rainbow’ in its entirety with one color,” said the Sheriff’s Office in a post to their Facebook page.

This story gets better.

On Wednesday afternoon, officials said they confirmed the Skittles fell off the back of a flatbed truck. They were in a large box and because it was raining, the box got wet and the Skittles spilled.

Sheriff’s officials said it has been reported that the Skittles were intended to be feed for cattle, as they did not make the cut for packaging at the company.

Yes, they’re feeding candy to cows — and they’ve been doing it for years.

A former farmer told CNN affiliate WBAY that candy makers and bakeries often sell rejects to be used as cattle feed because they provide “cheap carbs.”

The practice goes back decades, but it picked up steam in 2012 when corn prices were surging and cattle farmers were looking for a cheaper way to keep their cows and other livestock fed.

Dodge County Skittles on highway

Dodge County Skittles on the highway

“(It) is a very good way for producers to reduce feed cost, and to provide less expensive food for consumers,” said Ki Fanning, a livestock nutritionist with Great Plains Livestock Consulting, told CNNMoney at the time.

Sweet treats

OK, fine, but is mixing in castoff candy, cookies or ice cream sprinkles in the hay fed to livestock healthy for them? (And for us, since we eat them?)

“I think it’s a viable (diet),” John Waller, an animal science professor at the University of Tennessee, told Live Science. “It keeps fat material from going out in the landfill, and it’s a good way to get nutrients in these cattle. The alternative would be to put (the candy) in a landfill somewhere.”

Skittles for cows was a shock to folks up in Wisconsin who saw the Facebook post about the roadway spill.

Some were outraged about it.

“Absolutely gross!” wrote one commenter. “Why are we OK with feeding cows Skittles to fatten them up. Know where your meat comes from people. I hope you’re all learned something from this.”

But another commenter considered the advantages.

“Strawberry Skittles = Strawberry milk.”