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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.

    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
    How quickly can I get fresh eggs?
    A
    For instant egg production, purchase started pullets at 18 to 22 weeks of age — more expensive, but almost immediately productive. You may also purchase older hens that are past their most productive stage, but still have another year of reasonable production in them. You will need to rest (molt) these birds for 7 to 8 weeks before allowing them to resume production. If you raise your own layers from hatch, expect them to begin laying at 18 to 20 weeks of age.
    Q
    How can producers help minimize the stress of weaning on calves?
    A
    Not rushing the calf weaning process, avoiding the performance of other herd functions such as dehorning and castration during this period, reducing parasites, avoiding dietary changes, ensuring access to adequate water and vaccinating judiciously are among the actions cattle producers can take to help make the weaning process less stressful.
    Q
    What are some potential consequences of colder temperatures on calves?
    A
    Lack of weight gain, more susceptibility to diseases, delayed age at first calving and decreased milk production potential.
    Q
    How can supplemental feeding impact more than the fish it is meant to feed?
    A
    At first glance, supplemental feeding seems to benefit only those fish such as bluegills, sunfish, hybrid striped bass, catfish, minnows and other species that directly consume the feed. However, feeding fish also supplies nutrients to the water, which enable phytoplankton to grow. Since phytoplankton are at the very bottom of the food chain, they affect all the animals above them.
    Q
    What are the signs of goat milk fever?
    A
    Moderate milk fever will make the goat lethargic, with poor appetite and poor milk production. Acute cases of milk fever can leave the goat in a coma; she will need immediate veterinary attention.
    Q
    How can I be sure my horse stays at a healthy weight?
    A
    You can restrict time spent grazing to a few hours per day or reduce the amount of hay offered to 1.5 to 2 percent of their body weight, which will certainly help control calorie intake. But sometimes these horses will still gain weight if fed 3.5 to 4 pounds of feed. In these cases, feeding only 1 to 2 pounds of a formulated feed designed to be fed at higher feeding rates can result in nutritional deficiencies in the diet. You don’t want to increase the amount of feed and end up with an obese horse, so what do you do? This is where forage balancers or ration balancers, such as Purina® Enrich PLUS™ ration balancing feed or Purina® Free Balance® 12:12 Vitamin & Mineral Supplement fit very nicely.
    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
    Why are my lambs chewing their wool?
    A
    The leading cause of wool chewing or wool pulling in lambs is inadequate fiber length, resulting in insufficient effective neutral detergent fiber (NDF), which is needed for rumen health. Feeding a roughage source with 1½ to 2 inches of fiber length usually prevents wool biting, chewing or pulling. However, once a lamb begins to pull wool, it usually will not stop. It quickly becomes a habit, and you will need to keep your lambs covered or separated to stop this activity.
    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
    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
    How important is protein supplementation for wild deer?
    A
    Even in a good year, the digestible protein content of major deer browse species often falls well below 10 percent by late summer and will likely remain there until the spring green-up. In a tough year (late winter, drought, etc.), the nutrition supplied by natural forages can be inadequate even in the spring. Without supplemental protein, deer may not be able to maintain optimal body condition, which is essential for maximum antler growth.