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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 

     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 

     FIND ANSWERS 

    Information From Our Experts

    Animal experts from the Purina Animal Nutrition Center share their knowledge.

    Q
    When will hens begin laying eggs?
    A
    Healthy hens will begin laying eggs at about 18 to 20 weeks of age. Hens will be at peak production at about 30 weeks. Eighty to 90 percent is considered excellent egg production (100 percent = 1 egg per hen, per day), but breed, housing, weather, management, parasite load and nutrition can all affect the rate of lay of your hens.
    Q
    Should I have my forages tested? What should I seek for the tests to provide?
    A
    It is a good idea to test at least part of your forages to get a good idea of basic forage quality. Most forage testing labs have a basic testing package that includes protein, and estimation of energy and macro minerals. This information can then be used to design a supplementation program that will meet cow requirements while utilizing as much forage as possible in the most efficient way possible for your individual operation.
    Q
    How can I help ensure good biosecurity policies for my calf operation?
    A
    Employees and visitors can be unsuspecting sources of calf disease. Anyone who works directly with animals should use latex gloves, as this can limit the transfer of harmful pathogens. Shoes and clothes must also be clean and disinfected before and after people enter a calf facility to minimize the spread of bacteria. Having sanitation protocols in place and holding employees accountable for their cleaning practices can help calf operations raise healthy calves that develop into cows with more profit potential.
    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
    Can horses eat snow during the winter to stay hydrated?
    A
    Snow is not a sufficient substitute for water, as the horse cannot physically eat enough snow to meet its water requirement. Ideally, the temperature of the available water should be between 45F and 65F. If the water is too cold, the horse may drink less, thereby decreasing water and lubrication in the gut and increasing the chance of impaction-induced colic. If the horse drinks less water, it may also eat less feed, resulting in loss of body weight and condition. Finally, if a horse is forced to drink very cold water, its energy requirement will increase, because more calories are required to warm the water to body temperature inside the digestive tract.
    Q
    How can I help minimize the risk of my rabbit getting enteritis?
    A
    Limit stress as much as possible by restricting entry to the rabbitry and practicing good biosecurity; preventing access by other animals; encouraging children to play quietly when near the rabbits; and protecting the rabbits from drafts, heat and excessive noise. Never switch feeds abruptly or give moldy, insect-infested or feed that smells odd. Treat baby rabbits with care, avoiding excessive handling. Never administer drugs without the direction of a veterinarian, and establish a good working relationship with a veterinarian before you need help.
    Q
    What physical traits are important in selecting a show lamb?
    A
    You will need to select a quality lamb with the genetic potential to respond to good nutrition; genetic potential that results in a fairly heavily muscled lamb. After all, we are feeding and showing market lambs. A market animal needs to exhibit muscle. A poorly muscled lamb will normally find its way to the bottom of most classes. If you select a lamb that has inferior muscling, the greatest feed money can buy is not going to result in producing adequate muscle. Build a relationship with the breeder of your choice. They will be more than happy to assist you. You can be assured they want their lambs to perform their best for you.
    Q
    Has this more stable vitamin C source been created and is it being used in small-pet food?
    A
    Modern technology has allowed us to significantly increase the shelf life of vitamin C using a stabilized version, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate. The phosphate is broken off during digestion, making the ascorbic acid completely available to the animal. This ingredient is heat stable and shelf stable, making it the perfect option to ensure your pet is getting all the vitamin C it needs!
    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
    What makes Purina® Game Bird Chow® products different than other brands?
    A
    Purina® Game Bird Chows® products are manufactured according to strict specifications. Purina® Game Bird Chows® products are not commercial turkey or poultry rations, they are unique products for unique species grown for unique reasons. This is important because game birds eat such a relatively small quantity of feed. A quail chick, for example, eats only a thimbleful of feed in four days. Every bit of Purina® Game Bird Chow® products are Micro-Mixed® with Purina’s proprietary process. Every bite brings your birds complete, wholesome nutrition. Purina’s Life Cycle Program can help you efficiently raise all types of game birds from hatch to release or finish.