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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
    Is it necessary for a rooster to be present for egg laying to begin?
    A
    No, but without a rooster, all eggs will be unfertilized.
    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
    At what temperature can cold stress impact the growth and health of dairy calves?
    A
    At a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit we may be comfortable, but our calves start to divert energy away from growth and immune function to regulate body temperature. Calves become cold stressed at fairly moderate temperatures because they have a higher surface-area-to-bodyweight ratio than older animals.
    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
    How can I address pregnancy toxemia and ketosis in my goats?
    A
    By getting more energy into your late-term pregnant and early-lactation doe. Gradually increase the concentrate (grain) portion of the diet and reduce the hay portion. Grain is higher in energy and will take up less room in the rumen. Feed a good-quality hay that is not too coarse. Forage pellets are another good fiber option for the late-gestation doe. A small amount of fat (corn oil is most palatable) on the feed will also help increase energy intake. Providing more frequent and smaller meals will also help.
    Q
    How much feed and pasture should I allow my horse?
    A
    Most formulated feeds are designed to be fed at a minimum of 3.5 to 4 pounds per day in order to meet all protein, vitamin and mineral requirements when fed with hay or pasture. There are situations today where horse owners have very well-managed, improved pastures or top-quality harvested forage, like alfalfa hay. These forages contain more calories and are available to the horse in greater quantities than what Mother Nature usually provides. When horses have access to free-choice top-quality pasture or hay, they will easily eat 3 percent of their body weight or more, which will provide more calories than needed for a maintenance or low-activity lifestyle.
    Q
    How do I wean the kits away from their mother?
    A
    Unless you are a professional and very experienced rabbit breeder, you should plan on leaving the kits with the doe until 8 weeks of age. During this growth period, the kits have been drinking mother’s milk, but also eating a high-quality rabbit feed, the same provided to their mother. When it comes time to wean them, simply remove the doe from the cage. Leaving the kits in their familiar cage, which still has the doe’s scent, and has their feeder full of familiar food, is the least stressful way to help kits through this very difficult adjustment period. This is a very common time for bunnies to develop enteritis, so the fewer changes that are made, the better. This is NOT the time to be changing their location or their food!
    Q
    What are some guidelines for vaccinating show pigs?
    A
    Vaccination is the first line of defense to prevent a variety of diseases. Young pigs originating from herds with an average health status, or that will eventually be exposed to pigs of an average or unknown health status, should be vaccinated for a minimum of mycoplasmal pneumonia, erysipelas and atrophic rhinitis. Another disease causing problems at an alarming rate is circovirus. These immunizations usually require an initial vaccination with a second booster injection approximately two weeks later. At the time of purchase, the buyer should ask the breeder if the pigs have been vaccinated, how many times and against what diseases. If the breeder has not vaccinated the pigs, then the purchaser should do so. The purchaser should also medicate the pigs during this process, because it could take a few weeks for full protection from vaccination to be effective. This medication should be delivered in the form of drinking water and medicated feed for pigs consuming feed and water normally. The use of electrolytes during this time is also advisable.
    Q
    If I feed my small pet a commercial diet, do I need to feed anything else?
    A
    Most diets manufactured for small pets are sold as complete diets. In other words, this diet is formulated in such a way that it can be the sole source of nutrition for your animal and no supplemental hay, veggies or other treats are needed. Providing treats in small amounts can help you bond with your pet, but overfeeding them may cause nutritional imbalances or lead to obesity. In order to manufacture a complete diet, nutritionists take into account the nutrient requirements of that species. Various ingredients are mixed together so that a diet contains the correct amount of protein, fat, fiber, vitamins and minerals required for optimal health.
    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
    What factors should wildlife managers consider in making nutrition decisions for deer and elk herds?
    A
    Seasonal forage availability and quality, physiological state and nutritional requirements, number and kinds of animal species, livestock and grazing management practices, and production goals.