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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.

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

    Karen E. Davison, Ph.D. - S...

    Winter Means Increased Respiratory Problems for S...

    Purina Animal Nutrition Exp...

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    Feeding Show Lambs: Basic Show Lamb Nutrition

    Three Benchmarks for Breeding Heifers by Size

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    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 do I need to do to prepare for the arrival of my chicks?
    A
    Several days before you bring them home, thoroughly clean and disinfect the brooder house and any equipment the chicks will use. Doing this in advance will allow everything to dry completely. Dampness is a mortal enemy to chicks, resulting in chilling and encouraging disease. When the premises are dry, place 4 to 6 inches of dry litter material (wood shavings or a commercial litter) on the floor. Also be sure to have plenty of fresh feed on hand — at least two 1-quart or one 1-gallon waterer for every 25 to 50 chicks.
    Q
    Why should producers in arid regions or regions with prolonged droughts favor smaller to moderately sized cows with moderate milk production potential?
    A
    It is much easier to maintain smaller cows in regions with limited feed resources. Also, smaller, easier-fleshing cows will breed back more quickly in arid regions. However, if a severe winter or other stressful conditions arise, producers should step up body condition monitoring and provide needed supplemental nutrition and vitamins before cattle become too thin to avoid negative reproduction performance and disease.
    Q
    How many dairy cow herds in the U.S. have broken the 30,000 pound mark for milk production?
    A
    Of the 19,658 dairy cow herds on test reported by the four records processing centers in the country, 221 herds have broken the 30,000 pound mark. (Progressive Dairyman May 2013.)
    Q
    What are forage fish?
    A
    Forage fish are smaller fish, such as minnows, bluegill and small catfish. A sufficient population of these fish will provide the food that larger fish such as bass and trout need to prey upon to thrive.
    Q
    What causes milk fever in goats?
    A
    With the onset of milk production after giving birth, your goat must supply a large quantity of calcium with her milk. The goat normally has more than enough calcium reserves in her bones, but if she has been on a diet high in calcium during her dry period, her body may have “forgotten” how to mobilize those calcium reserves because it hasn’t needed to. Consequently, when she starts lactating, and she needs to deliver calcium to the mammary gland for milk production, her blood calcium levels may fall to a dangerous level, resulting in milk fever.
    Q
    Can anything help alleviate polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) in my horse?
    A
    PSSM horses can remain asymptomatic for years (average age of first appearance of symptoms is 6 years) until there is some change in their schedule, such as being laid off due to injury or not getting regular exercise due to weather. Regular daily exercise for horses with PSSM has been shown to produce a dramatic decrease in serum CK following exercise. Adjusting to a lower-starch, higher-fat diet will further support these efforts. For some horses, improvement may be evident within a few days of the new diet and exercise program. Others will take longer to metabolically adjust and show a change for the better.
    Q
    How can I keep my rabbit comfortable in summer heat and humidity?
    A
    Rabbits are unable to sweat; they can only dissipate heat by panting, but they aren’t very efficient at it, so they can easily become overheated. Rabbits will often reduce feed intake during hot weather to reduce the heat produced by the metabolism of food. Help your rabbit survive the summer by making sure it is always in the shade and has plenty of air movement around it, even using a fan. Plenty of cool, fresh water is a must. In extreme heat, put a sealed plastic bag full of ice in your rabbit’s pen. Switch gradually to a more nutrient-dense feed at the beginning of summer to help maintain production (weight gain or lactation) when rabbits reduce intake due to heat.
    Q
    Should I hand-feed my show pig or use a self-feeder?
    A
    Whether you hand-feed or self-feed at the beginning of the feeding period, it is merely a feed delivery process. However, hand-feeding usually results in the pig becoming gentle more quickly. When the pig associates you with feed, it begins to trust you. Pigs are like most creatures, they need to learn that you are not going to do them harm. Self-feeding can also be effective. The important thing is to spend time with your pig, regardless of how you plan to deliver the feed. There is no substitute for time spent building a bond and trust between pig and exhibitor. Regardless of how you deliver the feed at the onset of your project, you will need to begin hand-feeding at some point in the feeding period to allow your pig to look its best on show day.
    Q
    What kind of timetable should I use to switch my small pet to a Purina® diet?
    A
    Follow the guidelines below to help slowly transition your pet to its new feed. If your pet backs off or stops eating completely, go back a step and allow it more time to adjust to the new diet. Each animal is different; these recommendations are just a guide. Day 1: 100% old diet Day 2: 90% old diet / 10% Purina® Diet Day 3: 80% old diet / 20% Purina® Diet Day 4: 70% old diet / 30% Purina® Diet Day 5: 60% old diet / 40% Purina® Diet Day 6: 50% old diet/ 50% Purina® Diet Day 7: 40% old diet / 60% Purina® Diet Day 8: 30% old diet / 70% Purina® Diet Day 9: 20% old diet / 80% Purina® Diet Day 10: 10% old diet / 90% Purina® Diet Day 11: 100% Purina® Diet
    Q
    How can adequate feed consumption in sows be encouraged?
    A
    One way is to supplement sow rations with a highly digestible summer feed additive, such as True Appetizer® feed from Purina Animal Nutrition. Research indicates that True Appetizer® feed significantly increases feed intake and litter weight gain and reduces pre-weaning mortality during warm environmental conditions (80° F). Additional research shows that replacing 50 lbs. per ton of corn with True Appetizer® feed can have benefits in lactating sows when temperatures exceed 72° F, with sows consuming 1.01 lbs. of feed per day more from days 1 to 20 in lactation (P = 0.03). This added consumption resulted in 3.4 percent heavier litter weights at weaning and 3.6 percent greater litter weight gain from 24 hours after farrowing through weaning.
    Q
    What are the potential dangers to deer if they consume too much starch?
    A
    Like all ruminants, deer need a proper rumen environment to maintain the populations of microbes that digest the plants they eat. Normal rumen pH is very mildly acidic. However, too much starch, especially if consumed in a short time, results in a great deal of lactic acid being produced in the rumen. This drops the pH, making the rumen much more acidic and killing off the vital microbes. This can result in founder, acidosis and even death.