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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
    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
    What are the important features of a cattle mineral I should be evaluating when purchasing it?
    A
    There are a couple features to consider when evaluating minerals. Does the mineral provide a good balanced mineral program that will meet the nutrient needs of your herd? There are many supplements available. Your supplement needs to match the nutrient requirements of your herd. What is the intake level required to meet herd nutrient requirements? Mineral supplements are available in a wide range of expected intakes. It is important that the cattle consume the mineral at the expected rate in order to meet cattle requirements. Minerals need to be palatable enough that the cows will consume the correct amounts, while not being too palatable that the cattle over consume mineral.
    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 causes milk fever in goats?
    A
    With the onset of milk production after giving birth, your goat must supply a large quantity of calcium with her milk. The goat normally has more than enough calcium reserves in her bones, but if she has been on a diet high in calcium during her dry period, her body may have “forgotten” how to mobilize those calcium reserves because it hasn’t needed to. Consequently, when she starts lactating, and she needs to deliver calcium to the mammary gland for milk production, her blood calcium levels may fall to a dangerous level, resulting in milk fever.
    Q
    Can I feed my horse a forage-only diet?
    A
    When you look at the horses that Mother Nature supports with a forage-only, continuous grazing program, you find they are usually smaller framed, are lighter muscled, mature at a later age and don’t have the life span we currently see in domesticated horses. Mother Nature’s program just isn’t designed to support the physical demands we place on domestic horses.
    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
    How is vitamin C incorporated into the manufacture of small-pet diets, and is nutritional value lost in the process?
    A
    Naturally occurring ascorbic acid is highly sensitive to high temperatures, pH, oxygen, and pressure. Unfortunately, high temperature and pressure also occur during the manufacture of many animal diets. Most small animal and pet bird diets contain at least some pellets or extruded particles. Pelleting and extrusion processes generally involve some heat and pressure, although to different degrees. Because the source of vitamin C within a diet usually comes from the pellets/extruded kibble, finding a heat-and-storage-stable vitamin C source was important to the animal feed industry. Current technology has allowed us to overcome these issues and provide long-lasting diets for species requiring vitamin C.
    Q
    What is the impact of increased use of DDGS in terms of storage pits?
    A
    Swine manure storage pits may start to fill up faster. In general, a 1,000-head barn manure storage pit holds approximately 420,000 gallons. A common practice is to empty the pit completely in the fall, and half in the spring. This would add approximately 630,000 gallons of manure per 1,000-head finishing barn. An increase of 20 percent in manure volume could imply an extra 126,000 gallons of manure to pump out per year and the added cost of removing that manure from the pit (McManus, 2011). 2 2McManus, Daniel. 2011. Personal communication. D.V.M. Young Animal Specialist - Swine. Purina Animal Nutrition LLC.
    Q
    How does deer habitat impact antler growth?
    A
    Climate can affect how much time a deer spends eating, moving around and resting, and how much energy it expends just staying warm or cooling down. Stressors such as traffic or roaming dogs can upset deer, raising blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol and negatively impacting feeding behavior and nutrient usage. Even something like an improper feeder design can affect how much a deer will eat.