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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.
    Visit Our Farm
     

     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
    How do I keep my chicks warm?
    A
    A thermometer should be placed at the chicks’ level to accurately gauge temperature. Initially, a comfort zone should be 90 °? F at “chick level.” Use a brooder guard (a plastic, cardboard or wire barrier) for a few days to encircle the brooding area so that the chicks don’t wander too far from the warmth. Once chicks have learned where the heat is, remove or expand the guard. The temperature can be gradually reduced by 5 F per week to a minimum of 55 F.
    Q
    What are the benefits of Wind and Rain® Storm™ Cattle Minerals?
    A
    Wind and Rain® Storm™ Cattle Minerals are enhanced to resist moisture even better than Wind and Rain® Cattle Minerals. Wind and Rain® Storm™ minerals shed moisture, so water finds its way through the minerals rather than sitting on top and causing clumping and spoilage, which makes feed unpalatable to cattle.
    Q
    What are some key size benchmarks to consider with heifers?
    A
    Measure the average weight on the mature (third plus lactation) animals in your herd. Heifers can be bred when they weigh 55 percent of the mature herd size. Wither height of Holstein heifers should be at least 49 inches tall to ensure proper frame. Holstein heifers should weigh around 85 percent of mature herd size after they deliver a calf and reach at least 53 to 54 inches tall at the withers.
    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 causes milk fever in goats?
    A
    With the onset of milk production after giving birth, your goat must supply a large quantity of calcium with her milk. The goat normally has more than enough calcium reserves in her bones, but if she has been on a diet high in calcium during her dry period, her body may have “forgotten” how to mobilize those calcium reserves because it hasn’t needed to. Consequently, when she starts lactating, and she needs to deliver calcium to the mammary gland for milk production, her blood calcium levels may fall to a dangerous level, resulting in milk fever.
    Q
    Do nutrients affect horse hoof growth and quality?
    A
    There are several nutrients that can influence hoof growth and quality, but there is very little evidence to suggest that the addition of extra nutrients to an already balanced diet will promote hoof growth in the normal horse.
    Q
    How do I keep my rabbit warm?
    A
    Make sure that while your rabbit has adequate ventilation, it is not exposed to drafts. Rabbits should have a house to go into, and if you have wire flooring in the cage, it is advisable to set a small plank or other solid item for the rabbit to sit on to avoid the cold wind coming up under its belly. With these environmental adjustments and plenty of food, your rabbit will sail through the winter with flying colors.
    Q
    How can I determine the immune status of my pig?
    A
    Sick pigs will have very low feed intakes. Pigs that are mounting an immune response divert critical nutrients away from maintenance and growth to fighting infection. So, not only do they not eat well, what they do eat usually is used toward fighting the infection and not for growth. To find out for sure, take the pig’s temperature with a rectal thermometer; it should be about 102.5 degrees F. If the pig’s temperature is above normal, a treatment of antibiotics is warranted. Contact your local veterinarian for the best course of treatment.
    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
    How can weaning challenges manifest themselves physically in the young pig?
    A
    The reduced feed and water intake that occurs after weaning may contribute to intestinal inflammation. These disruptions in water and feed intake affect growth performance and are further exacerbated by an immature immune system. This creates susceptibility to digestive upsets and/or diarrhea.
    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.