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  • This is a Way of Life You Have to Live to Truly Understand
     
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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.

    Effect of Feeding Pigs DDGS and Purina® EcoCare® ...

    Karen E. Davison, Ph.D. - S...

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    Three Benchmarks for Breeding Heifers by Size

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    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
    Is it necessary to wash the eggs after gathering them?
    A
    Eggs are laid with a protective coating, which helps keep bacteria out. It is best if this is not disturbed. Excessive washing can force bacteria through pores in the shell and into the egg, greatly reducing its chance for successful incubation and hatching. If washing is necessary, it should be gentle and quick, using water only. This water should be warmer than the egg, and the eggs should be dried and cooled as quickly as possible.
    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
    How do energy levels in the cow diet affect amino acid balance?
    A
    If the energy levels in the diet are not in balance, the cow will convert amino acids from a protein source to an energy source. Amino acid balancing then becomes extremely costly because the amino acids are being used for something they are not intended for. Meeting the cows’ energy and fiber needs first is key when balancing for amino acids.
    Q
    What are forage fish?
    A
    Forage fish are smaller fish, such as minnows, bluegill and small catfish. A sufficient population of these fish will provide the food that larger fish such as bass and trout need to prey upon to thrive.
    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
    How can I help prevent pasture-associated laminitis and colic in my horses?
    A
    Restricting pasture access for your horses can help but can also be impractical. Other steps include mowing pastures, building partitions in the pasture to limit the space where horses may graze lush grass, moving them to shaded pastures, using grazing muzzles, limiting turnout times (two to four hours per day), and feeding supplemental hay and concentrates to curb hunger with the hope of limiting pasture consumption. Keeping horses at a healthy weight and body condition and on a regular exercise program are also beneficial.
    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
    What is the primary cause for low growth rate in show pigs?
    A
    Poor feed intake is the primary cause for low growth rate in show pigs. Poor feed intake itself may be caused by many reasons. It is important to diagnose exactly what is causing the problem.
    Q
    What species require ascorbic acid (vitamin C)?
    A
    Along with humans, nonhuman primates, guinea pigs, bats, and some fish and bird species are unable to produce vitamin C themselves. Therefore, they must consume vitamin C in the foods they eat to meet this requirement. These species lack the enzyme (L-gulonolactone oxidase) that converts glucose and galactose into ascorbic acid. For those species that can synthesize vitamin C, this enzyme is normally present in the liver of mammals and in the liver or kidneys of other species.
    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
    I’ve heard that deer cannot tolerate more than 16 percent dietary protein, and that high-protein diets are wasteful or even toxic. Is this true?
    A
    No. Research in South Texas has shown that wild deer diets at certain times of the year can be more than 25 percent protein. Many forbs highly utilized by deer are more than 30 percent protein. Obviously, the wild deer are unharmed by consuming these high-protein plants. Indeed, excellent antler growth years were those with superb spring forage conditions. The resulting antler growth suggests that not only were the deer not harmed by their high-protein diet, they actually utilized the protein to grow bigger antlers, indicating that higher protein is necessary for a buck to achieve his genetic potential for antler growth.