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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® ...

    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
    How do I keep my chicks warm?
    A
    A thermometer should be placed at the chicks’ level to accurately gauge temperature. Initially, a comfort zone should be 90 °? F at “chick level.” Use a brooder guard (a plastic, cardboard or wire barrier) for a few days to encircle the brooding area so that the chicks don’t wander too far from the warmth. Once chicks have learned where the heat is, remove or expand the guard. The temperature can be gradually reduced by 5 F per week to a minimum of 55 F.
    Q
    How much milk should my cows produce during lacation for their calves to be healthy?
    A
    Each cow will produce different amounts of milk. I don’t know that there is a minimum amount of milk that needs to be produced in order to keep calves healthy. More important is that the cows are on a good health program, with adequate protein, energy and minerals to maximize colostrum quality. A good dose of high quality colostrum at birth will help the calf get off to a healthy start.
    Q
    What is a good way to handle fresh cows?
    A
    Fresh cows set the pace for the entire herd, and the first 60 days post-calving define a cow’s lactation. So in order for the herd to hit its production goals, the fresh cow program must be fine-tuned. Utilize technology to increase production for fresh cows. This has become an area of stagnation for many operations because they define success in transition only as a function of number of metabolics recorded. Redefine success and ask the questions, “How much milk are we leaving on the table with our current strategy?” and “What is truly possible?” Determine how to remove the barriers to achieving more than 30,000 pounds of milk, and then redefine what success looks like for your operation.
    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
    Why is hay preferable to corn to feed to horses during cold weather?
    A
    Many horse owners believe that when the weather is cold, horses need to be fed rations containing more corn, because they think of corn as a heating feed. However, corn and other cereal grains do not cause the horse to become warmer, they simply provide more energy (calories) to the horse. Hay, which contains more fiber than grain, provides more of a warming effect internally, as more heat is released during the digestion of fiber than of starch from grain. Therefore, horses are more able to maintain body heat if adequate hay is provided in the diet.
    Q
    What are the symptoms of enteritis in rabbits?
    A
    Enteritis is characterized by watery diarrhea, but is usually preceded by symptoms that may not be noticed, including decreased feed intake and constipation. This is generally followed by moderate diarrhea and mild dehydration, which do not sound particularly dangerous, but rabbits can die at this stage. Symptoms soon progress to acute diarrhea, complete cessation of food and water intake, and often tooth grinding by the rabbit in response to abdominal pain. The rabbit may even go into a coma. Mortality at this stage is very high.
    Q
    What will a feed formulated for show pigs not do?
    A
    There are things that even the greatest of all feeds cannot accomplish. Even the best feeds will not increase body length, base width or bone. Feed will not make the pig tall at the point of the shoulder. Nor will the best feed turn an unsound pig into a sound one. You will need to select animals that already express these features. Nutrition unlocks the genetic potential of your show pig project. A great feed will do only so much for poor genetic potential. However, a poor-quality feed can ruin great genetics.
    Q
    What kind of timetable should I use to switch my small pet to a Purina® diet?
    A
    Follow the guidelines below to help slowly transition your pet to its new feed. If your pet backs off or stops eating completely, go back a step and allow it more time to adjust to the new diet. Each animal is different; these recommendations are just a guide. Day 1: 100% old diet Day 2: 90% old diet / 10% Purina® Diet Day 3: 80% old diet / 20% Purina® Diet Day 4: 70% old diet / 30% Purina® Diet Day 5: 60% old diet / 40% Purina® Diet Day 6: 50% old diet/ 50% Purina® Diet Day 7: 40% old diet / 60% Purina® Diet Day 8: 30% old diet / 70% Purina® Diet Day 9: 20% old diet / 80% Purina® Diet Day 10: 10% old diet / 90% Purina® Diet Day 11: 100% Purina® Diet
    Q
    How can the transition of piglets from milk to solid food be eased?
    A
    The importance of getting newly weaned pigs to eat and drink water as soon as possible cannot be overemphasized. A successful nutrition program for older weaned pigs is similar to that for younger weaned pigs. Highly digestible, highly palatable, pelleted diets containing plasma protein and lactose are required to achieve maximum feed intake and gain during the first week postweaning. It is important to consider the variability in age at weaning within a weaning group when reviewing feeding budgets to ensure that the youngest, at-risk pigs receive adequate amounts of the proper diet. A phased-feeding program for maximum feed intake is essential to optimize performance and to get pigs to a lower-cost, grain-soybean meal diet as quickly as possible.
    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.