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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® ...

    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
    Is there a certain type of chicken feed I should use?
    A
    It is important to select a complete feed that gives your chicks all the nutrition they need. Layer chicks should receive a feed designed to help them grow at the appropriate rate into healthy and productive laying hens. Broiler chicks need a higher-powered feed designed to help support the growth that will get them to market weight in 8 to 10 weeks. Turkey chicks have much higher nutrient requirements and must have a feed that meets their exacting needs.
    Q
    Why should producers in arid regions or regions with prolonged droughts favor smaller to moderately sized cows with moderate milk production potential?
    A
    It is much easier to maintain smaller cows in regions with limited feed resources. Also, smaller, easier-fleshing cows will breed back more quickly in arid regions. However, if a severe winter or other stressful conditions arise, producers should step up body condition monitoring and provide needed supplemental nutrition and vitamins before cattle become too thin to avoid negative reproduction performance and disease.
    Q
    What are some problems associated with late cow breeding?
    A
    Heifers bred late are often associated with increased metabolic problems at calving, such as ketosis, lower milk production and wasted feed dollars. Breeding based on the size of the heifer could help address these types of problems.
    Q
    What is pond turnover?
    A
    Pond turnover may occur at any time of the year. However, one of the most common times is in late summer, when the water is very warm and oxygen demand is already high. Turnover is often caused by a sudden cooling of weather or a cold rain that cools the water close to the surface. The cool water on top is more dense than the warmer water below, causing the pond to turn over. Turnover often releases anoxic water from the bottom, which causes a lack of oxygen throughout the pond. This can result in a large die-off of fish. Often, by the time it is discovered, oxygen levels have already returned to normal.
    Q
    Why is it important for ruminant animals such as goats to be able to burp?
    A
    The rumen produces a lot of gas from the fermentation of food, and ruminant animals normally get rid of this gas and avoid bloat by belching. If something blocks the escape of gas from the rumen, however, the rumen will begin to expand. You will notice a large bulge on the animal’s left side, as if it had swallowed a soccer ball.
    Q
    How do amino acids impact horse hoof growth and quality?
    A
    The amino acid concentration within the horn of good-quality hooves has been shown to be different from that of poor-quality horse hooves. However, a study from Geyer and Schulze in 1994 failed to show an effect of specific amino acid supplementation on the growth of hooves. While the essential amino acid methionine is thought to be important for hoof quality, if fed in excess, it is thought to cause a depletion of iron, copper and zinc, which may be associated with crumbling horn and white line disease.
    Q
    How is biosecurity accomplished?
    A
    Simple things such as providing protective clothing for visitors; making sure visitors wash their hands and wear gloves before handling animals; keeping the rabbitry very clean; and keeping rodents, birds, insects and any other animals out can go a long way toward reducing the incidence of disease in your rabbitry.
    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
    Why have a number of swine producers increased use of Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS) in the diets of their herds?
    A
    During recent years, increased availability of DDGS and rising corn prices have supported incremental usage of DDGS in swine diets.
    Q
    What are the potential dangers to deer if they consume too much starch?
    A
    Like all ruminants, deer need a proper rumen environment to maintain the populations of microbes that digest the plants they eat. Normal rumen pH is very mildly acidic. However, too much starch, especially if consumed in a short time, results in a great deal of lactic acid being produced in the rumen. This drops the pH, making the rumen much more acidic and killing off the vital microbes. This can result in founder, acidosis and even death.