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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 

     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® ...

    Kathleen Young, Ph.D. - Lea...

    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 

     FIND ANSWERS 

    Information From Our Experts

    Animal experts from the Purina Animal Nutrition Center share their knowledge.

    Q
    How do hens’ diets affect egg quality?
    A
    Hens are very good at incorporating what they eat into the developing egg. Hens fed ground flaxseed will produce eggs with a much higher level of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an important omega-3 fatty acid, while those fed algae meal will lay eggs with higher amounts of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), another very valuable omega-3 fatty acid.
    Q
    Why are U.S. cow-calf operators embracing new research-backed herd breeding management tools?
    A
    Spurred by advances in cattle genetics and nutrition knowledge, cow-calf operators are using them to trim labor costs, upgrade herd performance, optimize profitability and establish solid herd-breeding programs.
    Q
    Does amino acid balancing of rations help boost cow milk production?
    A
    Research at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center has repeatedly shown improvements in cow milk production of 6 to 7 pounds when balancing rations for metabolizable protein and subsequently, the amino acids lysine and methionine. Additionally, component yields of 0.3 pounds of fat and protein accompany this production improvement. These results have been shown to be highly repeatable in the field. This notable increase in lactation performance costs 36 cents per cow per day on average, yielding a 3-to-1 return on investment (ROI).
    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 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
    What is the minimum daily fiber requirement for a horse?
    A
    Feeding a minimum of 1 percent body weight in forage per day (dry matter basis) is recommended to supply adequate levels of fiber required for proper gut function. Horses grazing good-quality pasture and/or provided ample access to hay generally have no problem meeting this minimum requirement.
    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
    What factors can negatively impact feed intake in show pigs?
    A
    The pig’s immune status, the environmental conditions in which the pig lives, water intake, injuries or operations, weather conditions and the energy density of the pig’s diet can all play a role in how much or how little the pig eats.
    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 have been some of the outcomes of feeding pigs DDGS?
    A
    Partial results of our most recent study at Oklahoma State University suggest that swine producers who have adopted the use of DDGS as a cost-saving strategy may also be increasing their pigs’ water intake and manure volume, compared to pigs fed corn-soybean meal diets.1 1 Need citation
    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.