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Animals
speak louder
than words.

Animals
speak louder
than words.

Feed Greatness
Feed Greatness
Message Image to Space Layout Feed Greatness. It's our commitment at Purina.
And when it comes
down to it, words aren't needed. Because if there's greatness on the
inside, it shows on the outside. Animals speak louder than words.
Feed Greatness. It's our commitment at Purina.
And when it comes
down to it, words aren't needed. Because if there's greatness on the
inside, it shows on the outside. Animals speak louder than words.

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.
 

Information From Our Experts

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

Q
What do I need to do to prepare for the arrival of my chicks?
A
Several days before you bring them home, thoroughly clean and disinfect the brooder house and any equipment the chicks will use. Doing this in advance will allow everything to dry completely. Dampness is a mortal enemy to chicks, resulting in chilling and encouraging disease. When the premises are dry, place 4 to 6 inches of dry litter material (wood shavings or a commercial litter) on the floor. Also be sure to have plenty of fresh feed on hand — at least two 1-quart or one 1-gallon waterer for every 25 to 50 chicks.
Q
Why is it important to make weaning as stress-free as possible for calves?
A
Weaning suppresses the immune system and makes calves more susceptible to ailments like bovine respiratory disease, coccidiosis and acidosis, according to an article by Clell V. Bagley, DVM, retired extension veterinarian at Utah State University. Minimizing stress is crucial when it comes to weaning calves. Otherwise, the odds of incurring losses increase dramatically.
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 potentially increase the number of trophy fish in my pond?
A
Predator fish, such as bass, walleye and larger catfish, eat the bluegills, minnows, small catfish and other forage fish that have been supplied with supplemental feed. By feeding the forage fish, you’ve not only provided yourself with a better catch when you hook a bluegill, you’ve also provided a better meal for your bass. As an added bonus, supplemental feeding also makes the forage fish population more plentiful, because the larger size brought on by feeding encourages earlier breeding — sometimes as early as the first year. In the end, the result is an increase in the capacity of your pond to grow and maintain a greater number of trophy fish.
Q
What can be done to help address urinary calculi in goats?
A
Delay castration until your goat is at least 4 months old, if possible; control phosphorous intake; provide plenty of water; make salt available; and feed a product that contains a urinary acidifier such as ammonium chloride. These steps will not guarantee that your goat will never have a stone incident, but they will go a long way toward trying to prevent one.
Q
What are some of the problems common to older horses?
A
These may include worn or missing teeth, decreasing digestive efficiency, respiratory problems, difficulty maintaining body weight, poor haircoat and chronic lameness. Working with your veterinarian will help determine when to begin addressing concerns of the aging horse, to ensure its continued good health and longevity.
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
Should I hand-feed my show pig or use a self-feeder?
A
Whether you hand-feed or self-feed at the beginning of the feeding period, it is merely a feed delivery process. However, hand-feeding usually results in the pig becoming gentle more quickly. When the pig associates you with feed, it begins to trust you. Pigs are like most creatures, they need to learn that you are not going to do them harm. Self-feeding can also be effective. The important thing is to spend time with your pig, regardless of how you plan to deliver the feed. There is no substitute for time spent building a bond and trust between pig and exhibitor. Regardless of how you deliver the feed at the onset of your project, you will need to begin hand-feeding at some point in the feeding period to allow your pig to look its best on show day.
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 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 nutritional status manifest physically in deer and elk?
A
A buck's or bull's antler growth is directly related to his nutritional status. If nutrition is limited anytime during the year, but especially during January through June, antler growth will not be maximized. In addition, both fawn or calf crop size and survivability is directly related to the nutrition of both the female and her offspring. Supplemental feeding is often used as a part of a management plan to assure that both males and females are better able to achieve their genetic potential, especially during times of nutritional stress.