Farmer on TikTok Reveals Why Cows Sometimes Eat Skittles
"Candy-eating cows" may sound strange, but one dairy farmer in Iowa went viral on TikTok after revealing the surprising reason cows will sometimes eat Skittles. Naturally, the internet was bewildered by the news.
A dairy farmer named Dan, who shares content under @iowadairyfarmer on TikTok, is known for regularly sharing the secrets to farming, providing non-farmers a peek behind the scenes of the agriculture industry.
In a video that now has 4.3 million views and 624,000 comments, Dan explains that some cows have been eating Skittles for ages as part of their diet.
Nutritionists and animal lovers need not worry, though. These healthy cows are not devouring bags and bags of whole Skittles. In the clip, Dan explains why some farmers opt to feed their bovine friends the sugary snack.
"What a cow eats every day is called a fully mixed ration," Dan shares in his TikTok video responding to fellow TikToker @ButterflyWandress, who initially asked, "Did you know cows are fed Skittles?"
"Farmers have been doing stuff like this for a long time," Dan says, explaining how farmers occasionally use the candy as part of a blended mix for their cattle's food, adding grains and other nutrients to make each bite identical "so the cow gets the exact same bite, every hour of every day."
According to the TikToking farmer, "Cows love consistency."
"The ration is a 'regularly balanced, specially formulated diet,' which leads to the use of Skittles," Dan reveals, explaining how Skittles provide the sugar intake cows require, as well as act as an energy source.
"We don't force-feed the cows bags and bags of Skittles," Dan explains. "We're not doing that to trick the cow into eating more of this or make it more addictive; we're putting a little bit of sugar in their diet because a little bit of sugar in their diet is a good thing."
Dan also shares that some farmers opt not to add candy to their mix. In fact, he's one of them.
Instead, only farmers who live near a candy factory and have access to buy flawed candy at reduced prices are likely to use candy as a sustainable sugar addition.
"Just because it's cheap, does that mean it's low quality? No," Dan says in his clip, explaining, "Maybe the Skittles didn't have the 'S' put on them properly … Maybe the colors were off just a little bit."
See Dan's full explanation below:
News about Skittles being fed to cattle first broke in 2017 when CNN released a story about a highway in Wisconsin that was mysteriously littered with hundreds of thousands of red Skittles.
Locals weren't the only ones baffled by the mess. The country was perplexed by the seemingly random red Skittles snafu.
Later it was revealed that the sweets had fallen off a truck carrying the Skittles to be used as cattle feed.
According to CNN, the candy has been added to feed for decades but increased in popularity in 2021, when the cost of corn skyrocketed, leaving farmers to look for cheaper alternatives.
Unsurprisingly, the news of animals eating candy left people unsure about the practice, but experts continue to insist that a little candy for the cows is A-OK.
"It keeps fatty material from going into the landfill, and it's a good way to get nutrients into these cattle," John Waller, a professor of animal nutrition at the University of Tennessee, told Live Science. "The alternative would be to put [the candy] in a landfill somewhere."