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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...

    Will Great Nutrition Guarantee Trophy Bucks?

    Feeding Show Lambs: Basic Show Lamb Nutrition

    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
    When will hens begin laying eggs?
    A
    Healthy hens will begin laying eggs at about 18 to 20 weeks of age. Hens will be at peak production at about 30 weeks. Eighty to 90 percent is considered excellent egg production (100 percent = 1 egg per hen, per day), but breed, housing, weather, management, parasite load and nutrition can all affect the rate of lay of your hens.
    Q
    What is the impact of providing supplemental nutrition to pregnant cattle?
    A
    A study published in the Journal of Animal Science (Oct. 9, 2009) revealed striking differences in newborn calves whose dams either received or were denied supplemental nutrition at “critical points” throughout calf gestation. The study indicated that proper nutrition throughout gestation doesn’t just affect fetal development — it actually can program how the fetus will develop long-term.
    Q
    What are some potential consequences of colder temperatures on calves?
    A
    Lack of weight gain, more susceptibility to diseases, delayed age at first calving and decreased milk production potential.
    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
    Why is it important to measure horse feed by weight, not volume?
    A
    A 3-lb coffee can of oats is not the same amount of feed as a 3-lb coffee can of corn! The can may hold 2–3 lbs. of oats, while the can of corn may be 4–5 lbs. Further, since corn is more calorie rich than oats, the can of corn may contain 2–3 times the energy as the can of oats. Any time a horse owner changes feed, he or she must weigh the can of feed to make sure the horse gets fed the same amount of feed every meal. Plus, every different batch of corn or oats may be a different weight. A specific volume of Strategy® Professional Formula GX Horse Feed or Omolene #200® horse feed will weigh the same each time. Another option is to use a pre-measured Purina scoop, available through local Purina horse feed dealers.
    Q
    How do I wean the kits away from their mother?
    A
    Unless you are a professional and very experienced rabbit breeder, you should plan on leaving the kits with the doe until 8 weeks of age. During this growth period, the kits have been drinking mother’s milk, but also eating a high-quality rabbit feed, the same provided to their mother. When it comes time to wean them, simply remove the doe from the cage. Leaving the kits in their familiar cage, which still has the doe’s scent, and has their feeder full of familiar food, is the least stressful way to help kits through this very difficult adjustment period. This is a very common time for bunnies to develop enteritis, so the fewer changes that are made, the better. This is NOT the time to be changing their location or their food!
    Q
    Why are my lambs chewing their wool?
    A
    The leading cause of wool chewing or wool pulling in lambs is inadequate fiber length, resulting in insufficient effective neutral detergent fiber (NDF), which is needed for rumen health. Feeding a roughage source with 1½ to 2 inches of fiber length usually prevents wool biting, chewing or pulling. However, once a lamb begins to pull wool, it usually will not stop. It quickly becomes a habit, and you will need to keep your lambs covered or separated to stop this activity.
    Q
    Why can’t I just switch right away?
    A
    Species such as guinea pigs and rabbits have very delicate digestive systems that rely on a consistent diet. Changing a diet immediately, or providing too many treats at one time, can cause a disruption to the ecosystem of microbes in the GI tract and lead to GI upset. Pets such as birds and guinea pigs are very finicky eaters. Birds especially are very attuned to the shape, size and color of their food. Switching a bird’s diet abruptly may lead to digestive upset, or worse, your bird will stop eating completely. You can change your pet’s diet, you just need to do it slowly.
    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
    How do deer and elk intake levels impact a nutrition plan?
    A
    Their daily intake levels change from winter to autumn. Daily dry matter intakes range from 1.5 percent of body weight in midwinter to more than 3.0 percent in summer and autumn. A key factor in this intake change is a shift in the metabolic rate. Deer, for example, have a high metabolic rate in the late spring to fall and a low metabolic rate in the winter. This is especially noticeable in the northern US.