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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 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
    Won’t increasing feeding during the last trimester of pregnancy increase the risk of dystocia in cows?
    A
    That is a myth. In fact, a number of studies have concluded the opposite is true. Cows that lost weight during the last trimester did have smaller calves, but also had more problems calving because they did not have sufficient energy stores in their bodies to calve rapidly and easily on their own. Cows that maintained or gained weight had a lower incidence of calving problems — even though their calves weighed slightly more. Body condition also affects fertility, rebreeding and pregnancy, all of which can have a direct impact on herd profitability.
    Q
    What is the advantage of growing heifer calves faster and more efficiently?
    A
    Accelerated growth can help maximize performance and the health of the animal over its lifetime. However, these larger heifers need to be bred early enough to take full advantage of this more aggressive calf growth plan. Many heifers are still being bred at the same age as before, even though they could easily be bred two to three months sooner, based on size.
    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
    Can goat milk fever be prevented?
    A
    You can help address milk fever by not feeding too much high-calcium feed, such as alfalfa, during late pregnancy. Grass hay or pasture is a much better choice during your goat’s dry period.
    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
    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 will a feed formulated for show pigs not do?
    A
    There are things that even the greatest of all feeds cannot accomplish. Even the best feeds will not increase body length, base width or bone. Feed will not make the pig tall at the point of the shoulder. Nor will the best feed turn an unsound pig into a sound one. You will need to select animals that already express these features. Nutrition unlocks the genetic potential of your show pig project. A great feed will do only so much for poor genetic potential. However, a poor-quality feed can ruin great genetics.
    Q
    What species require ascorbic acid (vitamin C)?
    A
    Along with humans, nonhuman primates, guinea pigs, bats, and some fish and bird species are unable to produce vitamin C themselves. Therefore, they must consume vitamin C in the foods they eat to meet this requirement. These species lack the enzyme (L-gulonolactone oxidase) that converts glucose and galactose into ascorbic acid. For those species that can synthesize vitamin C, this enzyme is normally present in the liver of mammals and in the liver or kidneys of other species.
    Q
    Has anything been shown to reduce water usage and manure volume in pigs fed DDGS?
    A
    The Oklahoma research also showed that when pigs were fed diets with similar DDGS inclusion and Purina® EcoCare® Feed Technology, water usage and manure volume were numerically reduced. The advantages of feeding EcoCare® Feed to retain manure storage capacity cannot be overlooked. 1 1 Need citation
    Q
    What about nutrition for deer in confinement?
    A
    Deer in confinement being fed complete diets should have at least 16 percent dietary protein in order to try to maximize health, growth and antler development. Today's high scoring bucks are sometimes raised on diets containing 20 percent protein. Some people even feed diets containing as much as 24 percent protein with no adverse effects. Although diets higher than 16% protein are probably not necessary as long as they are being fed prepared feed as the majority of their diet.