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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® ...

    Kathleen Young, Ph.D. - Lea...

    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
    What type of housing do I need to provide for my flock?
    A
    Be sure to thoroughly research the needs of individual poultry breeds before purchasing them. Some have very specific environmental needs and may not mix well with the average backyard flock. Chicks need adequate space and warmth. Some of the equipment and supplies you’ll need for raising chicks are heat lamps and/or brooder stove, feeders, waterers and a thermometer. All necessary equipment and supplies can be obtained from your local Purina dealer.
    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
    At what temperature can cold stress impact the growth and health of dairy calves?
    A
    At a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit we may be comfortable, but our calves start to divert energy away from growth and immune function to regulate body temperature. Calves become cold stressed at fairly moderate temperatures because they have a higher surface-area-to-bodyweight ratio than older animals.
    Q
    What are the benefits of supplemental feeding of fish?
    A
    Research has shown that ponds stay healthy, fish grow big and fast, and sustainable per-acre populations are large with supplemental feeding. Ponds that naturally sustain a stocking population of 500 bluegills and 50 bass per acre can easily sustain 1,000 bluegills and 100 bass per acre with supplemental feeding. This remarkable difference is due in part to the fact that supplemental feeding affects a pond’s entire food chain.
    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 horses eat snow during the winter to stay hydrated?
    A
    Snow is not a sufficient substitute for water, as the horse cannot physically eat enough snow to meet its water requirement. Ideally, the temperature of the available water should be between 45F and 65F. If the water is too cold, the horse may drink less, thereby decreasing water and lubrication in the gut and increasing the chance of impaction-induced colic. If the horse drinks less water, it may also eat less feed, resulting in loss of body weight and condition. Finally, if a horse is forced to drink very cold water, its energy requirement will increase, because more calories are required to warm the water to body temperature inside the digestive tract.
    Q
    What do I need to provide my pregnant doe to make her comfortable?
    A
    Does that are soon to kindle (give birth) will need a nest box in their cage. The ideal nest box is one that is built into the floor of the cage and hangs below the floor. If a baby bunny (kit) should bounce out, he will be able to find his way back in very easily — much more so than if he has to navigate the wall of a standing nest box. But regardless of location, the nest box should be large enough to accommodate the doe and her litter, and it should be made of a material that is not easily chewed but is easily sanitized. The doe will also need a form of bedding to mix her own fur with to make a cozy, warm nest. Shavings, especially fine ones, should be used only in the very bottom layer, if at all, as they can clog eyes and noses of delicate kits. It is much better to use some clean straw or hay and let the doe arrange it to her liking. She will pull her own fur to use for additional bedding. This is completely normal, even though it may leave her a bit ratty looking.
    Q
    What is Paylean® and what does it do for show pigs?
    A
    Paylean® is the trade name for Elanco’s ractopamine hydrochloride. Simply put, Paylean® shifts nutrients into synthesizing lean or muscle in show pigs, and away from fat deposition. Paylean® does not increase the number of muscle fibers, but rather increases the size of existing muscle fibers.
    Q
    How are alfalfa and timothy hay different?
    A
    Alfalfa and timothy are both forage sources commonly used in rabbit and guinea pig diets. Nutritionally speaking, however, they are very different. Alfalfa contains higher concentrations of protein and calcium compared to timothy hay. When alfalfa or timothy is used in a complete rabbit feed, the nutrients of the hay source used is taken into account and mixed with other appropriate ingredients to obtain a final diet formula that meets the needs of rabbits or guinea pigs. For example, while calcium is much higher in alfalfa than in timothy, in a complete feed, the amount of additional calcium sources (such as calcium carbonate) would be lower in an alfalfa-based diet compared to a timothy-based formula.
    Q
    Why have a number of swine producers increased use of Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS) in the diets of their herds?
    A
    During recent years, increased availability of DDGS and rising corn prices have supported incremental usage of DDGS in swine diets.
    Q
    How does deer habitat impact antler growth?
    A
    Climate can affect how much time a deer spends eating, moving around and resting, and how much energy it expends just staying warm or cooling down. Stressors such as traffic or roaming dogs can upset deer, raising blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol and negatively impacting feeding behavior and nutrient usage. Even something like an improper feeder design can affect how much a deer will eat.