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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
    Should I consider creep feeding my calves?
    A
    Creep feeding 60 days prior to weaning should be considered for a couple of reasons. During the later stages of nursing, milk production is decreasing. At the same time the calves are growing so there is a difference between available nutrients and what is needed to optimize calf growth. In addition, calves that have been creep fed will usually wean easier because they are already accustomed to feeding equipment and eating feeds other than forages and milk.
    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
    What does it mean if my fish quit eating?
    A
    The first sign of a problem is often a sudden decrease in appetite. If a group of fish suddenly quits eating, the cause is usually either an adverse water quality condition or disease. First, check water quality. If a water quality problem exists, rectify the problem. If fish appear unhealthy in any way (improper or erratic behavior, sores, etc.), they may be diseased. Send unhealthy-appearing fish to a pathologist for evaluation.
    Q
    What causes milk fever in goats?
    A
    With the onset of milk production after giving birth, your goat must supply a large quantity of calcium with her milk. The goat normally has more than enough calcium reserves in her bones, but if she has been on a diet high in calcium during her dry period, her body may have “forgotten” how to mobilize those calcium reserves because it hasn’t needed to. Consequently, when she starts lactating, and she needs to deliver calcium to the mammary gland for milk production, her blood calcium levels may fall to a dangerous level, resulting in milk fever.
    Q
    What are the clinical symptoms of equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS)?
    A
    Symptoms include behavioral changes, loss of performance, acting interested in eating but quickly becoming irritable and walking away from feed, recurring mild to moderate colic and a decline in body condition. These are suggestive of, but are not specific to, EGUS; so horses showing any combination of these symptoms should be examined by a veterinarian.
    Q
    How do I keep my rabbit warm?
    A
    Make sure that while your rabbit has adequate ventilation, it is not exposed to drafts. Rabbits should have a house to go into, and if you have wire flooring in the cage, it is advisable to set a small plank or other solid item for the rabbit to sit on to avoid the cold wind coming up under its belly. With these environmental adjustments and plenty of food, your rabbit will sail through the winter with flying colors.
    Q
    What are some scenarios about how show pigs are received?
    A
    Some people purchase pigs from breeders right off the farm and never co-mingle them with other pigs. Other customers purchase several pigs from several different pig sales or breeders, and place them all in the same pen upon arriving home. Other pigs that encounter immune system activation may have been raised at home and placed on medicated pig starters using carbadox, CSP, ASP, CTC and Denagard®, or other medications that controlled pathogens. Then, when these pigs are placed on a show pig feed containing a different antibiotic, it is possible for the pigs to show symptoms of disease, i.e., coughing, scouring, and/or anorexia (off feed). In reality, it has nothing to do with the nutritional content of the feed, but everything to do with the medication.
    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
    How can the transition of piglets from milk to solid food be eased?
    A
    The importance of getting newly weaned pigs to eat and drink water as soon as possible cannot be overemphasized. A successful nutrition program for older weaned pigs is similar to that for younger weaned pigs. Highly digestible, highly palatable, pelleted diets containing plasma protein and lactose are required to achieve maximum feed intake and gain during the first week postweaning. It is important to consider the variability in age at weaning within a weaning group when reviewing feeding budgets to ensure that the youngest, at-risk pigs receive adequate amounts of the proper diet. A phased-feeding program for maximum feed intake is essential to optimize performance and to get pigs to a lower-cost, grain-soybean meal diet as quickly as possible.
    Q
    I’ve heard that deer cannot tolerate more than 16 percent dietary protein, and that high-protein diets are wasteful or even toxic. Is this true?
    A
    No. Research in South Texas has shown that wild deer diets at certain times of the year can be more than 25 percent protein. Many forbs highly utilized by deer are more than 30 percent protein. Obviously, the wild deer are unharmed by consuming these high-protein plants. Indeed, excellent antler growth years were those with superb spring forage conditions. The resulting antler growth suggests that not only were the deer not harmed by their high-protein diet, they actually utilized the protein to grow bigger antlers, indicating that higher protein is necessary for a buck to achieve his genetic potential for antler growth.