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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® EcoCa...

    Karen E. Davison, Ph.D.

    Winter Means Increased Respiratory Problems for S...

    Purina Animal Nutrition Expert

    Will Great Nutrition Guarantee Trophy Bucks?

    Feeding Show Lambs: Basic Show Lamb Nutrition

    Three Benchmarks for Breeding Heifers by Size

    Purina Animal Nutrition Expert

    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 there a certain type of chicken feed I should use?
    A
    It is important to select a complete feed that gives your chicks all the nutrition they need. Layer chicks should receive a feed designed to help them grow at the appropriate rate into healthy and productive laying hens. Broiler chicks need a higher-powered feed designed to help support the growth that will get them to market weight in 8 to 10 weeks. Turkey chicks have much higher nutrient requirements and must have a feed that meets their exacting needs.
    Q
    What are the important features of a cattle mineral I should be evaluating when purchasing it?
    A
    There are a couple features to consider when evaluating minerals. Does the mineral provide a good balanced mineral program that will meet the nutrient needs of your herd? There are many supplements available. Your supplement needs to match the nutrient requirements of your herd. What is the intake level required to meet herd nutrient requirements? Mineral supplements are available in a wide range of expected intakes. It is important that the cattle consume the mineral at the expected rate in order to meet cattle requirements. Minerals need to be palatable enough that the cows will consume the correct amounts, while not being too palatable that the cattle over consume mineral.
    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
    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
    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
    Why is hay preferable to corn to feed to horses during cold weather?
    A
    Many horse owners believe that when the weather is cold, horses need to be fed rations containing more corn, because they think of corn as a heating feed. However, corn and other cereal grains do not cause the horse to become warmer, they simply provide more energy (calories) to the horse. Hay, which contains more fiber than grain, provides more of a warming effect internally, as more heat is released during the digestion of fiber than of starch from grain. Therefore, horses are more able to maintain body heat if adequate hay is provided in the diet.
    Q
    How is biosecurity accomplished?
    A
    Simple things such as providing protective clothing for visitors; making sure visitors wash their hands and wear gloves before handling animals; keeping the rabbitry very clean; and keeping rodents, birds, insects and any other animals out can go a long way toward reducing the incidence of disease in your rabbitry.
    Q
    Should I feed my show pig oat groats?
    A
    You might have noticed some folks feeding rolled oats (oat groats) along with their regular show pig feed. It might be a good idea to offer a small amount of oat groats (1/2 lb.) each day with the pig’s feed to increase the particle size of the total diet. This is a good idea, as the pig is less likely to suffer from ulcers, although many pigs perform very well and are never fed oat groats. It is a personal decision.
    Q
    If I feed my small pet a commercial diet, do I need to feed anything else?
    A
    Most diets manufactured for small pets are sold as complete diets. In other words, this diet is formulated in such a way that it can be the sole source of nutrition for your animal and no supplemental hay, veggies or other treats are needed. Providing treats in small amounts can help you bond with your pet, but overfeeding them may cause nutritional imbalances or lead to obesity. In order to manufacture a complete diet, nutritionists take into account the nutrient requirements of that species. Various ingredients are mixed together so that a diet contains the correct amount of protein, fat, fiber, vitamins and minerals required for optimal health.
    Q
    What have been some of the outcomes of feeding pigs DDGS?
    A
    Partial results of our most recent study at Oklahoma State University suggest that swine producers who have adopted the use of DDGS as a cost-saving strategy may also be increasing their pigs’ water intake and manure volume, compared to pigs fed corn-soybean meal diets.1 1 Need citation
    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.