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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.

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

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

    Winter Means Increased Respiratory Problems for S...

    Purina Animal Nutrition Exp...

    Will Great Nutrition Guarantee Trophy Bucks?

    Feeding Show Lambs: Basic Show Lamb Nutrition

    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
    What breed or breeds of chickens should I choose for my backyard flock?
    A
    It depends on what you are looking for. Eggs? Meat? Both? Or are you looking to raise show chickens? Here are some chicken breed recommendations. • Egg production: White Leghorn hybrids, Rhode Island Reds, Andalusians or Ameraucana chickens. • Meat production: Cornish Cross chickens • Dual-purpose production: Plymouth Rock, Sussex, Buff Orpingtons or sex-linked hybrids • Show or pets: Silkie, White Crested Polish, Japanese or Bantam chickens
    Q
    Why is it important to make weaning as stress-free as possible for calves?
    A
    Weaning suppresses the immune system and makes calves more susceptible to ailments like bovine respiratory disease, coccidiosis and acidosis, according to an article by Clell V. Bagley, DVM, retired extension veterinarian at Utah State University. Minimizing stress is crucial when it comes to weaning calves. Otherwise, the odds of incurring losses increase dramatically.
    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 is the most common cause of fish kill?
    A
    The most common cause of fish kill is probably depletion of dissolved oxygen (DO). Depletion of dissolved oxygen may occur due to several factors and is often predictable. Emergency aeration should always be available for intensive fish culture systems. Common causes of oxygen depletion include sudden die-offs (crashes) of dense phytoplankton blooms, insufficient or no supplemental aeration at times of high oxygen demands, pond turnover, and aeration system failure.
    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
    Can pasture alone provide enough nutrition for my horses?
    A
    Even when the pasture is sufficient to maintain horses in good body condition with no supplemental grain, there will still be nutrient deficiencies. Providing a forage balancer product such as Purina® Enrich Plus™ feed will supply a balance of protein, vitamins and minerals to complement pasture.
    Q
    What are the symptoms of enteritis in rabbits?
    A
    Enteritis is characterized by watery diarrhea, but is usually preceded by symptoms that may not be noticed, including decreased feed intake and constipation. This is generally followed by moderate diarrhea and mild dehydration, which do not sound particularly dangerous, but rabbits can die at this stage. Symptoms soon progress to acute diarrhea, complete cessation of food and water intake, and often tooth grinding by the rabbit in response to abdominal pain. The rabbit may even go into a coma. Mortality at this stage is very high.
    Q
    What are some scenarios about how show pigs are received?
    A
    Some people purchase pigs from breeders right off the farm and never co-mingle them with other pigs. Other customers purchase several pigs from several different pig sales or breeders, and place them all in the same pen upon arriving home. Other pigs that encounter immune system activation may have been raised at home and placed on medicated pig starters using carbadox, CSP, ASP, CTC and Denagard®, or other medications that controlled pathogens. Then, when these pigs are placed on a show pig feed containing a different antibiotic, it is possible for the pigs to show symptoms of disease, i.e., coughing, scouring, and/or anorexia (off feed). In reality, it has nothing to do with the nutritional content of the feed, but everything to do with the medication.
    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
    What is the impact of increased use of DDGS in terms of storage pits?
    A
    Swine manure storage pits may start to fill up faster. In general, a 1,000-head barn manure storage pit holds approximately 420,000 gallons. A common practice is to empty the pit completely in the fall, and half in the spring. This would add approximately 630,000 gallons of manure per 1,000-head finishing barn. An increase of 20 percent in manure volume could imply an extra 126,000 gallons of manure to pump out per year and the added cost of removing that manure from the pit (McManus, 2011). 2 2McManus, Daniel. 2011. Personal communication. D.V.M. Young Animal Specialist - Swine. Purina Animal Nutrition LLC.
    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.