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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
    What type of shelter do I need to provide for my chicks?
    A
    Young chicks can be raised in a variety of structures, but the area should be warm, dry and ventilated, but not drafty, as well as easy to clean. Small numbers of chicks can be warmed with heat lamps placed about 20 inches above the litter surface. Bigger groups of birds in a large room — a shed or a garage, for example — should have a supplemental heat source such as a brooder stove.
    Q
    Are supplements more important at certain times during gestation?
    A
    Data reveal the fetus benefits if the dam is given nutritional supplements during early gestation, as well as during the last two months of gestation and following birth. Unfortunately, producers may not think about adequate nutrition during the first half of the gestation period, concentrating instead on the last trimester when 75 percent of fetal development occurs.
    Q
    What are some problems associated with late cow breeding?
    A
    Heifers bred late are often associated with increased metabolic problems at calving, such as ketosis, lower milk production and wasted feed dollars. Breeding based on the size of the heifer could help address these types of problems.
    Q
    What are forage fish?
    A
    Forage fish are smaller fish, such as minnows, bluegill and small catfish. A sufficient population of these fish will provide the food that larger fish such as bass and trout need to prey upon to thrive.
    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 it important to feed horses adequate roughage?
    A
    Horses require at least 1–1.5 percent of their body weight per day of roughage in their diets. Feeding adequate amounts of high-quality roughage can prevent many digestive disturbances as well as behavior problems. When providing a feed such as Equine Junior®, Equine Senior® or Equine Adult® horse feeds, the roughage is included in the pellet, so all the horse's nutritional requirements are met when these complete feeds are fed as recommended. However, it may be beneficial to supply some roughage to decrease the risk of horses developing boredom vices, especially when exercise is limited.
    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
    What type of forage should I feed my show lambs?
    A
    At minimum, each lamb should receive a double handful, or about ¼ lb. (4 ounces) of a good-quality alfalfa hay per day. Although progressive judges are selecting lambs with more base width, rib shape and deeper fore rib, we still want lambs that are relatively tubular in their design. That means a lamb with an excessive middle usually will not be placed high in class. Poor-quality forage passes slowly through the digestive tract of the lamb. So, feeding a low- or moderate-quality roughage source tends to put some middle or a belly on lambs. The higher-quality alfalfa passes through much faster, maintaining the tubular appearance of the lamb, yet meeting the lamb’s fiber requirement.
    Q
    What kind of timetable should I use to switch my small pet to a Purina® diet?
    A
    Follow the guidelines below to help slowly transition your pet to its new feed. If your pet backs off or stops eating completely, go back a step and allow it more time to adjust to the new diet. Each animal is different; these recommendations are just a guide. Day 1: 100% old diet Day 2: 90% old diet / 10% Purina® Diet Day 3: 80% old diet / 20% Purina® Diet Day 4: 70% old diet / 30% Purina® Diet Day 5: 60% old diet / 40% Purina® Diet Day 6: 50% old diet/ 50% Purina® Diet Day 7: 40% old diet / 60% Purina® Diet Day 8: 30% old diet / 70% Purina® Diet Day 9: 20% old diet / 80% Purina® Diet Day 10: 10% old diet / 90% Purina® Diet Day 11: 100% Purina® Diet
    Q
    What can swine producers do to help improve F/G?
    A
    Efficient feeder management and biosecurity practices can have dramatic effects on improving feed conversion. This includes rodent control. Manipulation of nutrient levels in the diet need to be oriented to match pig nutrient requirements and to improve pig nutrient utilization.
    Q
    Why can't other ruminant feeds be substituted for deer and elk?
    A
    People often want to feed deer what is handy, which might be sheep, goat, dairy or even horse feeds. The problem is these feeds are not formulated for deer, do not meet their specific needs and may even cause problems.