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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 can feeding Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3 feed affect hen health and egg quality?
    A
    Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3 feed is formulated to result in more omega-3 in the egg, and has a natural vegetarian formula with added vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients and without added antibiotics or hormones. Layena® Plus Omega-3 feed contains marigold extract for rich golden yolks, key levels of calcium and manganese for strong shells with fewer cracks, and an optimized level of Vitamin E to support a healthy immune system.
    Q
    Why is it important to make weaning as stress-free as possible for calves?
    A
    Weaning suppresses the immune system and makes calves more susceptible to ailments like bovine respiratory disease, coccidiosis and acidosis, according to an article by Clell V. Bagley, DVM, retired extension veterinarian at Utah State University. Minimizing stress is crucial when it comes to weaning calves. Otherwise, the odds of incurring losses increase dramatically.
    Q
    How can I help meet my calves’ increased energy demands in colder weather?
    A
    Added energy can be provided by adding a third feeding of milk replacer, preferably late in the evening; and increasing the amount of starter offered. Seasonal formulations of both milk replacer and calf starter are now available and are designed specifically to meet the needs of calves during inclement weather.
    Q
    How can supplemental feeding potentially increase the number of trophy fish in my pond?
    A
    Predator fish, such as bass, walleye and larger catfish, eat the bluegills, minnows, small catfish and other forage fish that have been supplied with supplemental feed. By feeding the forage fish, you’ve not only provided yourself with a better catch when you hook a bluegill, you’ve also provided a better meal for your bass. As an added bonus, supplemental feeding also makes the forage fish population more plentiful, because the larger size brought on by feeding encourages earlier breeding — sometimes as early as the first year. In the end, the result is an increase in the capacity of your pond to grow and maintain a greater number of trophy fish.
    Q
    How does this condition impact goats?
    A
    Urinary calculi occur primarily in male goats, as the female ureter is short and straight, while the male ureter is much longer and has a bend in it that provides a perfect place for a stone to lodge. When the ureter is blocked the goat cannot urinate — an extremely painful and distressing condition. If not immediately treated, the goat’s bladder can rupture, and the goat will die. Pygmy goats and castrated males whose urinary tracts are underdeveloped are particularly prone to urinary calculi, as are many breeds of meat goats.
    Q
    Are there other horse hay alternatives in addition to high-fiber feeds?
    A
    There are unfortified forage alternatives available that can be used either as a partial or a complete replacement for hay. These include chopped or bagged hay; hay cubes, pellets or blocks; pasture; shredded or pelleted beet pulp; and pelleted soy hulls.
    Q
    What are some of the diseases that can affect rabbits?
    A
    Whether you have a large rabbitry or just a few pet or show animals, there are many pathogens and parasites that can infect your animals. For example, Pasteurella multocida (P. multocida) is a respiratory disease, commonly known as “snuffles,” that can become widespread in a rabbitry. Staphylococcus aureus is a pathogen that can cause mastitis (infection of the mammary glands), pododermatitis (sore feet and hocks), endocarditis (inflammation of the endocardium of the heart), conjunctivitis (pink eye) and subcutaneous abscesses. Mycoplasmas can cause everything from pneumonia to reproductive failure. Learn about the various pathogens and parasites that can impact your rabbit’s health and practice good biosecurity to help keep your rabbitry a clean and healthy environment for your rabbits.
    Q
    Should I feed my show pig oat groats?
    A
    You might have noticed some folks feeding rolled oats (oat groats) along with their regular show pig feed. It might be a good idea to offer a small amount of oat groats (1/2 lb.) each day with the pig’s feed to increase the particle size of the total diet. This is a good idea, as the pig is less likely to suffer from ulcers, although many pigs perform very well and are never fed oat groats. It is a personal decision.
    Q
    Should I feed my rabbit alfalfa or timothy hay has a supplemental hay?
    A
    Calcium metabolism in rabbits is unique compared to other species. Rabbits are efficient calcium absorbers and excrete excess calcium in their urine. Because of this unique metabolic system, rabbits are prone to urinary stones if fed too much calcium. Therefore, when feeding an adult rabbit supplemental hay in addition to a complete diet, it is preferable to provide timothy hay to minimize excess calcium.
    Q
    How can diet help ease the weaning process for piglets?
    A
    The weaning process and development of the gastrointestinal tract of the pig have a profound effect on nutrient absorption and protection from pathogenic challenges, thus impacting growth. Diets constructed for young pigs should take into account these changes that are occurring at weaning and utilize ingredients that the young pig can better absorb and that support intestinal health.
    Q
    How important is protein supplementation for wild deer?
    A
    Even in a good year, the digestible protein content of major deer browse species often falls well below 10 percent by late summer and will likely remain there until the spring green-up. In a tough year (late winter, drought, etc.), the nutrition supplied by natural forages can be inadequate even in the spring. Without supplemental protein, deer may not be able to maintain optimal body condition, which is essential for maximum antler growth.