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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.

    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 

    Information From Our Experts

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

    Q
    What are some of the nutritional benefits of eggs?
    A
    Eggs are an excellent source of protein and the gold standard against which all other proteins are measured. They have the best amino acid profile known — better than meat, milk and soy products. Eggs are rich in choline, a nutrient that is essential for fetal brain development and to help prevent birth defects. They provide significant amounts of B vitamins, especially B12; as well as the minerals selenium, phosphorus, iron, zinc and calcium. Eggs are a naturally occurring and significant sources of vitamin D, and also a source of lutein, a compound shown to be helpful in preventing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
    Q
    How often should I check my mineral feeders?
    A
    Mineral feeders should be checked at least once per week. If you have not fed minerals for a while, you will need to check and fill more frequently until the cows have settled in to a stable mineral intake. Once mineral intakes are stabilized checking mineral feeders on a weekly basis should be sufficient.
    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 does it mean if my fish quit eating?
    A
    The first sign of a problem is often a sudden decrease in appetite. If a group of fish suddenly quits eating, the cause is usually either an adverse water quality condition or disease. First, check water quality. If a water quality problem exists, rectify the problem. If fish appear unhealthy in any way (improper or erratic behavior, sores, etc.), they may be diseased. Send unhealthy-appearing fish to a pathologist for evaluation.
    Q
    What should I do if my goat has bloat?
    A
    If your goat has swallowed an object, you may be able to feel the obstruction in the throat. If you cannot gently work it down the esophagus, get a veterinarian’s help. Under no circumstances should you ever try to push the obstruction down the throat using any kind of instrument. Never try to manipulate an object that feels hard, as you can cause serious damage to the goat’s esophagus. A veterinarian can administer a surfactant to your goat to decrease the foam, allowing your goat to belch away the problem.
    Q
    Do nutrients affect horse hoof growth and quality?
    A
    There are several nutrients that can influence hoof growth and quality, but there is very little evidence to suggest that the addition of extra nutrients to an already balanced diet will promote hoof growth in the normal horse.
    Q
    Does rabbit enteritis have other causes?
    A
    Parasites such as trematodes (flukes), cestodes (tapeworms), nematodes (intestinal worms) and coccidia (protozoa) can also cause enteritis in rabbits. It is wise to establish a health care program with a veterinarian that includes regular checks for various parasites and a comprehensive prevention program. Coccidia are particularly ubiquitous in animal facilities and the environment in general. Outbreaks are common and can be devastating, especially in young animals. Some antibiotics and other compounds can also cause enteritis. Nitrates in drinking water can pose a problem, too.
    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
    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 are some of the factors that can influence pig feed conversion (F/G)?
    A
    Feed wastage, scours, continuous flow production, pneumonia, mange, multiple source pigs and mixing pigs are among the factors that can have a significant influence on F/G. Factors with less impact include pelleting feed, antibacterial additives and genetics.
    Q
    What are some of the primary factors that influence antler growth in deer?
    A
    General health, habitat, hydration, genetics, population density and other stressors can greatly influence antler growth. Good deer management must go hand-in-hand with nutrition to get optimum results.