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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
    How quickly can I get fresh eggs?
    A
    For instant egg production, purchase started pullets at 18 to 22 weeks of age — more expensive, but almost immediately productive. You may also purchase older hens that are past their most productive stage, but still have another year of reasonable production in them. You will need to rest (molt) these birds for 7 to 8 weeks before allowing them to resume production. If you raise your own layers from hatch, expect them to begin laying at 18 to 20 weeks of age.
    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 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 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
    What are some of the problems common to older horses?
    A
    These may include worn or missing teeth, decreasing digestive efficiency, respiratory problems, difficulty maintaining body weight, poor haircoat and chronic lameness. Working with your veterinarian will help determine when to begin addressing concerns of the aging horse, to ensure its continued good health and longevity.
    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
    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
    How can adequate feed consumption in sows be encouraged?
    A
    One way is to supplement sow rations with a highly digestible summer feed additive, such as True Appetizer® feed from Purina Animal Nutrition. Research indicates that True Appetizer® feed significantly increases feed intake and litter weight gain and reduces pre-weaning mortality during warm environmental conditions (80° F). Additional research shows that replacing 50 lbs. per ton of corn with True Appetizer® feed can have benefits in lactating sows when temperatures exceed 72° F, with sows consuming 1.01 lbs. of feed per day more from days 1 to 20 in lactation (P = 0.03). This added consumption resulted in 3.4 percent heavier litter weights at weaning and 3.6 percent greater litter weight gain from 24 hours after farrowing through weaning.
    Q
    What is the Purina Game Bird Life Cycle Feeding Program?
    A
    The Purina Game Bird Life Cycle Feeding Program has been developed and tested at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center in Gray Summit, Missouri. The program is designed to meet specific nutritional requirements of game birds at various stages of growth and production. Purina feeding programs stress efficiency based on research conducted exclusively with game birds.