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  • This is a Way of Life You Have to Live to Truly Understand
     
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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
    Why should eggs be gathered so frequently?
    A
    Frequent egg gathering helps keep the eggs cleaner and addresses bacterial growth, thus eliminating the need for washing. And it lessens the opportunity for hens to learn the bad habit of eating her own eggs. Frequent gathering is your primary weapon against this behavioral problem.
    Q
    What are some of the post-natal benefits of supplementation for pregnant cattle?
    A
    Data indicate that high-quality cattle feed, supplemented at critical points during gestation, trigger postnatal benefits such as higher birth weight, faster weight gains, diminished susceptibility to health challenges, earlier sexual maturity and higher-quality meat at harvest. In addition, research revealed that well-nourished dams produced higher-quality colostrum, as evidenced by higher IgG levels. Those higher IgG levels translate into better immunity against health challenges for the calf.
    Q
    What are some key size benchmarks to consider with heifers?
    A
    Measure the average weight on the mature (third plus lactation) animals in your herd. Heifers can be bred when they weigh 55 percent of the mature herd size. Wither height of Holstein heifers should be at least 49 inches tall to ensure proper frame. Holstein heifers should weigh around 85 percent of mature herd size after they deliver a calf and reach at least 53 to 54 inches tall at the withers.
    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 can be done to help address urinary calculi in goats?
    A
    Delay castration until your goat is at least 4 months old, if possible; control phosphorous intake; provide plenty of water; make salt available; and feed a product that contains a urinary acidifier such as ammonium chloride. These steps will not guarantee that your goat will never have a stone incident, but they will go a long way toward trying to prevent one.
    Q
    What is polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) in horses?
    A
    PSSM is one of the causes of exertional rhabdomyolysis (ER), which is muscle damage from exercise, commonly known as tying up. An acute episode often begins within 20 minutes of light exercise and is characterized by reluctance to move, tucked-up abdomen, quivering in the flank, significant sweating and muscle stiffness. Horses affected with PSSM store 1.5 to 4 times the muscle glycogen as normal horses. Glycogen is a form of sugar called a polysaccharide, which is stored in the muscle to burn as fuel for work.
    Q
    What should I do if one or more of my rabbits become ill?
    A
    Immediately remove and isolate any rabbits displaying disease symptoms. The isolation room should be in a separate building, preferably downwind of your rabbitry. Simply putting animals displaying disease symptoms at one end of your existing rabbitry is NOT adequate to prevent disease transmission. Also isolate/quarantine any new rabbits or rabbits that have left the rabbitry and are returning. Quarantine should last a minimum of 30 days. It is not uncommon for there to be a rash of disease outbreaks after a large show, primarily due to the stress of traveling and the lack of post-show quarantine.
    Q
    When can I expect to see a difference in my show pigs after starting to feed Paylean®?
    A
    All pigs are different and will respond a little differently in terms of side effects. However, most pigs with average muscling will respond about the same in terms of days until you see visible effects from feeding Paylean®. Usually, in about 7 days you can see a difference in pigs fed 9 grams/ton. Legal levels of Paylean® range from 4.5 to 9 grams/ton of complete feed.
    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 have a number of swine producers increased use of Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS) in the diets of their herds?
    A
    During recent years, increased availability of DDGS and rising corn prices have supported incremental usage of DDGS in swine diets.
    Q
    Why can't other ruminant feeds be substituted for deer and elk?
    A
    People often want to feed deer what is handy, which might be sheep, goat, dairy or even horse feeds. The problem is these feeds are not formulated for deer, do not meet their specific needs and may even cause problems.