Expert explains benefits of cows getting Skittles

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DENVER -- Thousands of Skittles candies spilled on a county road in Wisconsin last week. They weren't heading to a candy shop; they were going to a local cattle ranch.

No kidding.

RELATED: Thousands of Skittles intended for cattle feed spill on Wisconsin highway

Raising cattle is serious business. From birth to the butcher shop, a lot of thought goes into what goes into a cows diet.

Gone are the days in ranching where free range grass and hay are the main staples.

Nowadays, nutrition is king.

"We're trying to build the protein, build the meat on these animals. We are trying to balance the protein, the carbohydrates, the vitamins, the minerals. And all that to make it the most efficient we can," said Dr. Lanas Smith.

Well then, how do those road-side Skittles, a junk food, fit into a bovine's breakfast?

"They're going to end up in a landfill somewhere, polluting our environment. Or, we can feed them as a byproduct to these rumen animals that can actually convert it into quality food for us," Smith said.

It turns out sugar is not the devil in a cow's diet.

"Your typical grass out here on the prairie is going to be, maybe close to ten percent sugar content," Smith said.

Sugar breaks down to much needed carbs, which are essential to building big, fat and profitable cows at market.

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