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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.

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

    Winter Means Increased Respiratory Problems for S...

    Mariela Lachmann, Ph.D. - S...

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

    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
    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
    How much feed should I provide my cows during calving season?
    A
    This would depend on your cow body condition and forage quality. During the calving season the cow’s nutrient requirements are going to double soon after calving. You will need to have a feeding program designed to meet this increased demand so your cows do not lose condition. Remember that cows need to rebreed around 90 days after calving in order to maintain a yearly calving cycle. In order to rebreed the cows will need to have a body condition score of 5 or 6.
    Q
    How can I optimize my nutrition program so my cows produce more milk?
    A
    Apply technology to your ration. Propel® CHO Transition supplement is a technology that allows us to tweak starch feeding to fresh animals by providing an extremely consistent, rapidly available starch source. This is instrumental in driving microbial production, milk and components. Rally® Dairy Feed is a technology that addresses energy dynamics on a whole different level by providing additional energy in a form that the cow can rapidly utilize, while not contributing to the starch load or fat level of the diet. When you combine these technologies, which work very differently in the cow, the result is potential for more milk in the first 30 days of lactation. This translates into more milk for the entire lactation. We strive to change the slope of the lactation curve in this manner.
    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
    How does this condition impact goats?
    A
    Urinary calculi occur primarily in male goats, as the female ureter is short and straight, while the male ureter is much longer and has a bend in it that provides a perfect place for a stone to lodge. When the ureter is blocked the goat cannot urinate — an extremely painful and distressing condition. If not immediately treated, the goat’s bladder can rupture, and the goat will die. Pygmy goats and castrated males whose urinary tracts are underdeveloped are particularly prone to urinary calculi, as are many breeds of meat goats.
    Q
    Do by-products really add nutritional value to horse feeds?
    A
    Yes, but some more than others. Many by-products contain nutrient levels or attributes that make them better feed ingredients for horses than the initial grain or the primary end-product of the processing. At Purina, we use by-products in many of our horse feeds. All must meet very strict, high-quality standards and testing. When these standards are met and the by-products are blended in proper amounts with other quality ingredients to provide balanced nutrition, they can contribute to an excellent overall diet for horses.
    Q
    Is it mostly respiratory diseases that can affect rabbits, or are there others?
    A
    Enteritis — or inflammation of the intestinal tract — is the primary disease that affects rabbits. There are many forms and causes. Mucoid enteritis, primarily a disease of young rabbits 7 to 14 weeks of age (although it can also occur in adults), disrupts the developing microflora population in the gut. This disease is often accompanied by pneumonia and has a high mortality rate. Non-mucoid enteritis, characterized by watery diarrhea, can be caused by infection with any number of bacteria or parasites, a diet that is too high in starch/sugar and/or too low in fiber, lack of water, rapid diet change or consumption of feed the rabbit is not used to, or stress.
    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
    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
    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
    How do deer and elk intake levels impact a nutrition plan?
    A
    Their daily intake levels change from winter to autumn. Daily dry matter intakes range from 1.5 percent of body weight in midwinter to more than 3.0 percent in summer and autumn. A key factor in this intake change is a shift in the metabolic rate. Deer, for example, have a high metabolic rate in the late spring to fall and a low metabolic rate in the winter. This is especially noticeable in the northern US.