Candy Canes for Cows

By on Jan 10, 2018 in Carole's Corner |

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Don’t know what to do with leftover holiday candy? Here’s a thought; feed to livestock. Of course, too much sugar is not good for cattle but a bite here and there won’t hurt them or their teeth. We only feed peppermint to our “ambassador herd,” which includes our pulling and riding cattle and some of the 4H critters. We also have a bucket of gingerbread man cookies which some of the cattle like to nibble on. Not all the cattle like cookies or peppermints but my oxen team, Topper and Stash, and riding steer, Curious Bleu, devour the treats.

Even though I don’t feed the yearlings treats they love third cut baleage hay and watch eagerly as we strip what we call, “pumpkin bales.” We call them “pumpkin bales” because third cut hay is fine and when wrapped it shrinks to about half the size of other bales. It has just as much hay as the bigger bales but looks smaller than the others. The yearlings love this stuff but now that I’m down to just two “pumpkin bales” I have to get them used to the more course hay.

Sven, a Scottish Highlander Steer

Sven, a Miles Smith Farm Scottish Highlander steer, checks out a candy can. Photo by Carole Soule Miles Smith Farm

Now that it’s warming up again we’ll have to clean the feed bunker and holding pen. Frozen manure is impossible to scrape and, with our January thaw, frozen manure will quickly turn into a foot or more of muck. Keeping the calves clean and dry is just as important as feeding them.

For now, I’ll bask in our mini-heat wave and feed peppermints to Topper and Stash. Everyone loves warm weather and treats. If you have any extra holiday treats you want to share with our bovines, bring them over to Miles Smith Farm. Our guys will happily relieve you of any unwanted candy canes. Just remember to take the wrappers off first.

Carole Soule is co-owner of Miles Smith Farm, in Loudon, NH, where she raises and sells beef, pork, lamb, eggs and other local products. She can be reached at