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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.

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

    Winter Means Increased Respiratory Problems for S...

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

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

    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
    How quickly can I get fresh eggs?
    A
    For instant egg production, purchase started pullets at 18 to 22 weeks of age — more expensive, but almost immediately productive. You may also purchase older hens that are past their most productive stage, but still have another year of reasonable production in them. You will need to rest (molt) these birds for 7 to 8 weeks before allowing them to resume production. If you raise your own layers from hatch, expect them to begin laying at 18 to 20 weeks of age.
    Q
    What are the benefits of Wind and Rain® Storm™ Cattle Minerals?
    A
    Wind and Rain® Storm™ Cattle Minerals are enhanced to resist moisture even better than Wind and Rain® Cattle Minerals. Wind and Rain® Storm™ minerals shed moisture, so water finds its way through the minerals rather than sitting on top and causing clumping and spoilage, which makes feed unpalatable to cattle.
    Q
    At what temperature can cold stress impact the growth and health of dairy calves?
    A
    At a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit we may be comfortable, but our calves start to divert energy away from growth and immune function to regulate body temperature. Calves become cold stressed at fairly moderate temperatures because they have a higher surface-area-to-bodyweight ratio than older animals.
    Q
    How can supplemental feeding potentially increase the number of trophy fish in my pond?
    A
    Predator fish, such as bass, walleye and larger catfish, eat the bluegills, minnows, small catfish and other forage fish that have been supplied with supplemental feed. By feeding the forage fish, you’ve not only provided yourself with a better catch when you hook a bluegill, you’ve also provided a better meal for your bass. As an added bonus, supplemental feeding also makes the forage fish population more plentiful, because the larger size brought on by feeding encourages earlier breeding — sometimes as early as the first year. In the end, the result is an increase in the capacity of your pond to grow and maintain a greater number of trophy fish.
    Q
    What is goat pregnancy toxemia and goat ketosis?
    A
    Late-term pregnancy (when pregnancy toxemia can occur) and especially the onset of lactation (when ketosis commonly occurs) require considerable energy, often more than can be derived from the goat’s feed. Consequently, the goat must call on body reserves of fat for energy. The breakdown of large amounts of body fat results in compounds called ketones floating around in the blood. In large concentrations, these ketones have a toxic effect.
    Q
    If a newborn foal is orphaned and there is a lactating mare on site, can the orphan foal be placed with her to nurse and raise?
    A
    If there is a gentle mare nursing a foal relatively close to the age of the orphan, she may be willing to raise the orphan foal. Introducing the orphan to the new mare requires careful attention, because even gentle mares may not accept another foal. Tying the mare next to her feed and hay while both foals have an opportunity to nurse may help get the mare accustomed to the extra foal. Caution must be taken to ensure the orphaned foal doesn’t get hurt during this introductory period. But if successful, this can be a good option for the foal and a much easier option for the horse owner.
    Q
    How can I help minimize the risk of my rabbit getting enteritis?
    A
    Limit stress as much as possible by restricting entry to the rabbitry and practicing good biosecurity; preventing access by other animals; encouraging children to play quietly when near the rabbits; and protecting the rabbits from drafts, heat and excessive noise. Never switch feeds abruptly or give moldy, insect-infested or feed that smells odd. Treat baby rabbits with care, avoiding excessive handling. Never administer drugs without the direction of a veterinarian, and establish a good working relationship with a veterinarian before you need help.
    Q
    How can I determine the immune status of my pig?
    A
    Sick pigs will have very low feed intakes. Pigs that are mounting an immune response divert critical nutrients away from maintenance and growth to fighting infection. So, not only do they not eat well, what they do eat usually is used toward fighting the infection and not for growth. To find out for sure, take the pig’s temperature with a rectal thermometer; it should be about 102.5 degrees F. If the pig’s temperature is above normal, a treatment of antibiotics is warranted. Contact your local veterinarian for the best course of treatment.
    Q
    How is vitamin C incorporated into the manufacture of small-pet diets, and is nutritional value lost in the process?
    A
    Naturally occurring ascorbic acid is highly sensitive to high temperatures, pH, oxygen, and pressure. Unfortunately, high temperature and pressure also occur during the manufacture of many animal diets. Most small animal and pet bird diets contain at least some pellets or extruded particles. Pelleting and extrusion processes generally involve some heat and pressure, although to different degrees. Because the source of vitamin C within a diet usually comes from the pellets/extruded kibble, finding a heat-and-storage-stable vitamin C source was important to the animal feed industry. Current technology has allowed us to overcome these issues and provide long-lasting diets for species requiring vitamin C.
    Q
    What conditions can cause heat stress in sows?
    A
    Sows can begin to feel heat stressed as temperatures surpass 70° F, depending upon humidity. Sows are most comfortable between 45 and 70° F; the range of 60 to 65° F is optimal for lactating sows. As temperatures increase outside of this range of comfort and humidity levels exceed 40 percent relative humidity, feed consumption can begin to decrease.
    Q
    What factors should wildlife managers consider in making nutrition decisions for deer and elk herds?
    A
    Seasonal forage availability and quality, physiological state and nutritional requirements, number and kinds of animal species, livestock and grazing management practices, and production goals.