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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.
    Visit Our Farm
     

     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
    Are supplements more important at certain times during gestation?
    A
    Data reveal the fetus benefits if the dam is given nutritional supplements during early gestation, as well as during the last two months of gestation and following birth. Unfortunately, producers may not think about adequate nutrition during the first half of the gestation period, concentrating instead on the last trimester when 75 percent of fetal development occurs.
    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 is the most common cause of fish kill?
    A
    The most common cause of fish kill is probably depletion of dissolved oxygen (DO). Depletion of dissolved oxygen may occur due to several factors and is often predictable. Emergency aeration should always be available for intensive fish culture systems. Common causes of oxygen depletion include sudden die-offs (crashes) of dense phytoplankton blooms, insufficient or no supplemental aeration at times of high oxygen demands, pond turnover, and aeration system failure.
    Q
    What causes bloat in goats?
    A
    There are two major causes. One is an obstruction of the esophagus — the goat may have swallowed something large, and it is stuck. The other is that the goat has either gotten into a source of soluble carbohydrates — often a grain that it shouldn’t eat — or someone has changed the goat’s diet too quickly. These situations cause a decrease in pH, resulting in the death of “good” rumen microbes and proliferation of undesirable microbes that produce foam, blocking the entrance to the esophagus and preventing the escape of gas.
    Q
    What are by-products and how are they used in horse feeds?
    A
    Grains and other plants are processed to produce many different foods for human consumption, such as flour, cooking oils and syrup. The parts of the grain or plant that remain after processing are known as by-products. Many by-products contain nutrient levels or attributes that make them better feed ingredients for horses than the initial grain or the primary end-product of the processing.
    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
    Is Paylean® a steroid? Can it be used on animals other than swine?
    A
    Paylean® is not a steroid; however, it is classified as a drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is regulated as such. Due to the rapid metabolism in Paylean®, there is no withdrawal time required. Paylean® is approved for use only in swine. Ractopamine HCl is approved for use in both swine and cattle. The cattle product is called Optiflexx® and is not approved to be fed to swine.
    Q
    What species require ascorbic acid (vitamin C)?
    A
    Along with humans, nonhuman primates, guinea pigs, bats, and some fish and bird species are unable to produce vitamin C themselves. Therefore, they must consume vitamin C in the foods they eat to meet this requirement. These species lack the enzyme (L-gulonolactone oxidase) that converts glucose and galactose into ascorbic acid. For those species that can synthesize vitamin C, this enzyme is normally present in the liver of mammals and in the liver or kidneys of other species.
    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
    What about nutrition for deer in confinement?
    A
    Deer in confinement being fed complete diets should have at least 16 percent dietary protein in order to try to maximize health, growth and antler development. Today's high scoring bucks are sometimes raised on diets containing 20 percent protein. Some people even feed diets containing as much as 24 percent protein with no adverse effects. Although diets higher than 16% protein are probably not necessary as long as they are being fed prepared feed as the majority of their diet.