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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
    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
    Do my cows need different minerals during calving season?
    A
    This is one of the most important times of the production cycle to provide a good balanced mineral program. Minerals are very important for problem free calving and the initiation of reproduction after calving. A good balanced mineral program will help the start of estrus cycles prior to the breeding season.
    Q
    How can I optimize my nutrition program so my cows produce more milk?
    A
    Apply technology to your ration. Propel® CHO Transition supplement is a technology that allows us to tweak starch feeding to fresh animals by providing an extremely consistent, rapidly available starch source. This is instrumental in driving microbial production, milk and components. Rally® Dairy Feed is a technology that addresses energy dynamics on a whole different level by providing additional energy in a form that the cow can rapidly utilize, while not contributing to the starch load or fat level of the diet. When you combine these technologies, which work very differently in the cow, the result is potential for more milk in the first 30 days of lactation. This translates into more milk for the entire lactation. We strive to change the slope of the lactation curve in this manner.
    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
    Why is it important for ruminant animals such as goats to be able to burp?
    A
    The rumen produces a lot of gas from the fermentation of food, and ruminant animals normally get rid of this gas and avoid bloat by belching. If something blocks the escape of gas from the rumen, however, the rumen will begin to expand. You will notice a large bulge on the animal’s left side, as if it had swallowed a soccer ball.
    Q
    What are some by-products used in horse feeds?
    A
    Some of the more popular by-products used in horse feeds include molasses, which is very palatable for horses and helps prevent settling out or sorting of ingredients in mixed feeds; and beep pulp, which contains highly digestible fiber that possesses great water-holding capacity. Others include wheat bran and wheat middlings, both of which are high in phosphorus; rice bran, also high in phosphorous and higher in fat than wheat middlings; soybean meal (high-protein and low-fat) and soy hulls (a source of very digestible fiber).
    Q
    Will my rabbit eat more during the cold winter months?
    A
    Intense winter weather will increase energy expenditure and have an impact on growth, weight maintenance and productivity if feeding rates are not adjusted accordingly. Outdoor rabbits will eat more — sometimes a LOT more — during the winter to stay warm. Do not assume that your rabbit that does fine on 5 ounces of feed in the summer will continue to need only 5 ounces in the winter. Feel your rabbits often to make sure they are not losing weight, and observe them for evidence of being cold.
    Q
    Is Paylean® a steroid? Can it be used on animals other than swine?
    A
    Paylean® is not a steroid; however, it is classified as a drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is regulated as such. Due to the rapid metabolism in Paylean®, there is no withdrawal time required. Paylean® is approved for use only in swine. Ractopamine HCl is approved for use in both swine and cattle. The cattle product is called Optiflexx® and is not approved to be fed to swine.
    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
    How can adequate feed consumption in sows be encouraged?
    A
    One way is to supplement sow rations with a highly digestible summer feed additive, such as True Appetizer® feed from Purina Animal Nutrition. Research indicates that True Appetizer® feed significantly increases feed intake and litter weight gain and reduces pre-weaning mortality during warm environmental conditions (80° F). Additional research shows that replacing 50 lbs. per ton of corn with True Appetizer® feed can have benefits in lactating sows when temperatures exceed 72° F, with sows consuming 1.01 lbs. of feed per day more from days 1 to 20 in lactation (P = 0.03). This added consumption resulted in 3.4 percent heavier litter weights at weaning and 3.6 percent greater litter weight gain from 24 hours after farrowing through weaning.
    Q
    Should I not feed corn to deer, then?
    A
    In addition to being low in protein and minerals, corn is very high in starch, and the rapid consumption of 2 to 3 pounds by a deer not used to it is enough to cause serious problems. If you must feed corn, it is best to use a spin feeder, which will minimize the amount provided and the speed with which the deer can consume it. Small amounts of starch do provide valuable energy and can actually improve the digestion of forages by optimizing the microbe population in the rumen.