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  • This is a Way of Life You Have to Live to Truly Understand
     
    That’s why we feed more than 3,000 animals on our 1,200-acre working farm every day. Because a commitment to doing what’s best for animals demands nothing less.
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     FEATURED NUTRITION ARTICLES 

    Stories From Our Farm

    For nearly a century at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, we’ve been learning what helps our animals reach their full potential. And we know if it works for us, it’ll work for other people, too.

    Mariela Lachmann, Ph.D. - S...

    Effect of Feeding Pigs DDGS and Purina® EcoCare® ...

    Katie Young, Ph.D. - Lead T...

    Feeding Options for Senior Horses: Part One

    Purina Animal Nutrition Exp...

    Will Great Nutrition Guarantee Trophy Bucks?

    Kevin Burgoon, Ph.D. - Tech...

    Feeding Show Lambs: Basic Show Lamb Nutrition

    Jason Leonard - Calf and He...

    Three Benchmarks for Breeding Heifers by Size

    Purina Animal Nutrition Exp...

    How to Start Raising Chickens: Start Your Backyar...

     FIND ANSWERS 

    Information From Our Experts

    Animal experts from the Purina Animal Nutrition Center share their knowledge.

    Q
    Are oats a bad thing to feed to performance horses?
    A
    No. Oats provide a good source of calories, starch, fat, some protein and amino acids. However, they lack many important nutrients performance horses need to stay in top form. Through the years, successful horse trainers have often fed high-quality oats, but had to add various supplements to try and meet all the nutritional needs of a top-level performance horse. Horses cannot maintain top performance on oats and hay alone.
    Q
    What type of housing do I need to provide for my flock?
    A
    Be sure to thoroughly research the needs of individual poultry breeds before purchasing them. Some have very specific environmental needs and may not mix well with the average backyard flock. Chicks need adequate space and warmth. Some of the equipment and supplies you’ll need for raising chicks are heat lamps and/or brooder stove, feeders, waterers and a thermometer. All necessary equipment and supplies can be obtained from your local Purina dealer.
    Q
    Why are U.S. cow-calf operators embracing new research-backed herd breeding management tools?
    A
    Spurred by advances in cattle genetics and nutrition knowledge, cow-calf operators are using them to trim labor costs, upgrade herd performance, optimize profitability and establish solid herd-breeding programs.
    Q
    How do energy levels in the cow diet affect amino acid balance?
    A
    If the energy levels in the diet are not in balance, the cow will convert amino acids from a protein source to an energy source. Amino acid balancing then becomes extremely costly because the amino acids are being used for something they are not intended for. Meeting the cows’ energy and fiber needs first is key when balancing for amino acids.
    Q
    What does it mean if my fish quit eating?
    A
    The first sign of a problem is often a sudden decrease in appetite. If a group of fish suddenly quits eating, the cause is usually either an adverse water quality condition or disease. First, check water quality. If a water quality problem exists, rectify the problem. If fish appear unhealthy in any way (improper or erratic behavior, sores, etc.), they may be diseased. Send unhealthy-appearing fish to a pathologist for evaluation.
    Q
    What are urinary calculi in goats?
    A
    Urinary calculi are crystals or “stones” that cause a very painful and potentially fatal condition by blocking the ureter (or urethra), the tube going from the bladder to the outside of the body.
    Q
    How can I be sure my horse stays at a healthy weight?
    A
    You can restrict time spent grazing to a few hours per day or reduce the amount of hay offered to 1.5 to 2 percent of their body weight, which will certainly help control calorie intake. But sometimes these horses will still gain weight if fed 3.5 to 4 pounds of feed. In these cases, feeding only 1 to 2 pounds of a formulated feed designed to be fed at higher feeding rates can result in nutritional deficiencies in the diet. You don’t want to increase the amount of feed and end up with an obese horse, so what do you do? This is where forage balancers or ration balancers, such as Purina® Enrich PLUS™ ration balancing feed or Purina® Free Balance® 12:12 Vitamin & Mineral Supplement fit very nicely.
    Q
    What does “rabbitry biosecurity” mean?
    A
    Many pathogens and parasites lurk everywhere, just waiting for the opportunity to infect your rabbits, often from sources you might never consider. Introducing biosecurity measures — preventative steps designed to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases — into your rabbitry can help reduce incidence of disease. The goal of a good biosecurity program is to keep out pathogens the animals have not been exposed to, and to minimize the impact of widespread pathogens.
    Q
    What is Paylean® and what does it do for show pigs?
    A
    Paylean® is the trade name for Elanco’s ractopamine hydrochloride. Simply put, Paylean® shifts nutrients into synthesizing lean or muscle in show pigs, and away from fat deposition. Paylean® does not increase the number of muscle fibers, but rather increases the size of existing muscle fibers.
    Q
    How are alfalfa and timothy hay different?
    A
    Alfalfa and timothy are both forage sources commonly used in rabbit and guinea pig diets. Nutritionally speaking, however, they are very different. Alfalfa contains higher concentrations of protein and calcium compared to timothy hay. When alfalfa or timothy is used in a complete rabbit feed, the nutrients of the hay source used is taken into account and mixed with other appropriate ingredients to obtain a final diet formula that meets the needs of rabbits or guinea pigs. For example, while calcium is much higher in alfalfa than in timothy, in a complete feed, the amount of additional calcium sources (such as calcium carbonate) would be lower in an alfalfa-based diet compared to a timothy-based formula.
    Q
    Why can weaning be difficult for young pigs?
    A
    The pig must cope with a variety of factors, including separation from the sow, the transition from highly digestible milk to a less digestible and more complex solid feed, a new environment, movement and separation from littermates, and exposure to unfamiliar pigs.
    Q
    Should I not feed corn to deer, then?
    A
    In addition to being low in protein and minerals, corn is very high in starch, and the rapid consumption of 2 to 3 pounds by a deer not used to it is enough to cause serious problems. If you must feed corn, it is best to use a spin feeder, which will minimize the amount provided and the speed with which the deer can consume it. Small amounts of starch do provide valuable energy and can actually improve the digestion of forages by optimizing the microbe population in the rumen.