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     FEATURED PURINA 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.
     

     FIND ANSWERS 

    Information From Our Experts

    Animal experts from the Purina Animal Nutrition Center share their knowledge.

    Q
    How do hens’ diets affect egg quality?
    A
    Hens are very good at incorporating what they eat into the developing egg. Hens fed ground flaxseed will produce eggs with a much higher level of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an important omega-3 fatty acid, while those fed algae meal will lay eggs with higher amounts of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), another very valuable omega-3 fatty acid.
    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
    Does amino acid balancing of rations help boost cow milk production?
    A
    Research at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center has repeatedly shown improvements in cow milk production of 6 to 7 pounds when balancing rations for metabolizable protein and subsequently, the amino acids lysine and methionine. Additionally, component yields of 0.3 pounds of fat and protein accompany this production improvement. These results have been shown to be highly repeatable in the field. This notable increase in lactation performance costs 36 cents per cow per day on average, yielding a 3-to-1 return on investment (ROI).
    Q
    What is pond turnover?
    A
    Pond turnover may occur at any time of the year. However, one of the most common times is in late summer, when the water is very warm and oxygen demand is already high. Turnover is often caused by a sudden cooling of weather or a cold rain that cools the water close to the surface. The cool water on top is more dense than the warmer water below, causing the pond to turn over. Turnover often releases anoxic water from the bottom, which causes a lack of oxygen throughout the pond. This can result in a large die-off of fish. Often, by the time it is discovered, oxygen levels have already returned to normal.
    Q
    Can goat milk fever be prevented?
    A
    You can help address milk fever by not feeding too much high-calcium feed, such as alfalfa, during late pregnancy. Grass hay or pasture is a much better choice during your goat’s dry period.
    Q
    What is a senior horse?
    A
    We typically think of a senior horse as one that is in its teens, but individual horses become seniors at different ages. The age at which a horse’s nutritional needs shift from those of a mature adult horse to those of a geriatric horse is determined by genetics and the way that horse was managed throughout its life. Basically, the horse itself determines when it becomes a senior. Some common indications of changing nutritional needs can help determine when to start addressing the needs of a geriatric horse. For instance, it becomes more difficult to maintain body weight on a senior horse with a traditional diet of hay or grass and feed. A senior horse may also start dropping wads of partially chewed hay on the ground (quidding).
    Q
    What should I do if one or more of my rabbits become ill?
    A
    Immediately remove and isolate any rabbits displaying disease symptoms. The isolation room should be in a separate building, preferably downwind of your rabbitry. Simply putting animals displaying disease symptoms at one end of your existing rabbitry is NOT adequate to prevent disease transmission. Also isolate/quarantine any new rabbits or rabbits that have left the rabbitry and are returning. Quarantine should last a minimum of 30 days. It is not uncommon for there to be a rash of disease outbreaks after a large show, primarily due to the stress of traveling and the lack of post-show quarantine.
    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 diet help ease the weaning process for piglets?
    A
    The weaning process and development of the gastrointestinal tract of the pig have a profound effect on nutrient absorption and protection from pathogenic challenges, thus impacting growth. Diets constructed for young pigs should take into account these changes that are occurring at weaning and utilize ingredients that the young pig can better absorb and that support intestinal health.
    Q
    How can I help ensure the deer I feed aren’t getting too much starch?
    A
    Properly formulated commercial feeds provide the correct ratio of all nutrients and make it easy to properly feed your deer. It is very difficult to provide the optimal nutrient balance without a thorough knowledge of the composition of the feed ingredients and the nutrient needs of the animal. A thoroughly balanced, high-quality feed is the fastest route to healthy deer and trophy antlers.