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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 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
How often should I check my mineral feeders?
A
Mineral feeders should be checked at least once per week. If you have not fed minerals for a while, you will need to check and fill more frequently until the cows have settled in to a stable mineral intake. Once mineral intakes are stabilized checking mineral feeders on a weekly basis should be sufficient.
Q
What is a good way to handle fresh cows?
A
Fresh cows set the pace for the entire herd, and the first 60 days post-calving define a cow’s lactation. So in order for the herd to hit its production goals, the fresh cow program must be fine-tuned. Utilize technology to increase production for fresh cows. This has become an area of stagnation for many operations because they define success in transition only as a function of number of metabolics recorded. Redefine success and ask the questions, “How much milk are we leaving on the table with our current strategy?” and “What is truly possible?” Determine how to remove the barriers to achieving more than 30,000 pounds of milk, and then redefine what success looks like for your operation.
Q
What is the most common cause of fish kill?
A
The most common cause of fish kill is probably depletion of dissolved oxygen (DO). Depletion of dissolved oxygen may occur due to several factors and is often predictable. Emergency aeration should always be available for intensive fish culture systems. Common causes of oxygen depletion include sudden die-offs (crashes) of dense phytoplankton blooms, insufficient or no supplemental aeration at times of high oxygen demands, pond turnover, and aeration system failure.
Q
What causes bloat in goats?
A
There are two major causes. One is an obstruction of the esophagus — the goat may have swallowed something large, and it is stuck. The other is that the goat has either gotten into a source of soluble carbohydrates — often a grain that it shouldn’t eat — or someone has changed the goat’s diet too quickly. These situations cause a decrease in pH, resulting in the death of “good” rumen microbes and proliferation of undesirable microbes that produce foam, blocking the entrance to the esophagus and preventing the escape of gas.
Q
Why is horse feed that is cheaper by the bag more expensive to feed per day?
A
Because horse feed must be fed at a larger amount per day, or it requires added expensive supplements to meet nutrient requirements. Basic supplements will usually add $0.50 to $1.00 per day to the cost of feeding your horse.
Q
What do I need to provide my pregnant doe to make her comfortable?
A
Does that are soon to kindle (give birth) will need a nest box in their cage. The ideal nest box is one that is built into the floor of the cage and hangs below the floor. If a baby bunny (kit) should bounce out, he will be able to find his way back in very easily — much more so than if he has to navigate the wall of a standing nest box. But regardless of location, the nest box should be large enough to accommodate the doe and her litter, and it should be made of a material that is not easily chewed but is easily sanitized. The doe will also need a form of bedding to mix her own fur with to make a cozy, warm nest. Shavings, especially fine ones, should be used only in the very bottom layer, if at all, as they can clog eyes and noses of delicate kits. It is much better to use some clean straw or hay and let the doe arrange it to her liking. She will pull her own fur to use for additional bedding. This is completely normal, even though it may leave her a bit ratty looking.
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
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
What conditions can cause heat stress in sows?
A
Sows can begin to feel heat stressed as temperatures surpass 70° F, depending upon humidity. Sows are most comfortable between 45 and 70° F; the range of 60 to 65° F is optimal for lactating sows. As temperatures increase outside of this range of comfort and humidity levels exceed 40 percent relative humidity, feed consumption can begin to decrease.
Q
What about nutrition for deer in confinement?
A
Deer in confinement being fed complete diets should have at least 16 percent dietary protein in order to try to maximize health, growth and antler development. Today's high scoring bucks are sometimes raised on diets containing 20 percent protein. Some people even feed diets containing as much as 24 percent protein with no adverse effects. Although diets higher than 16% protein are probably not necessary as long as they are being fed prepared feed as the majority of their diet.