Nutrition


Trio

What is this trio of eaters eating? Something delectable and delicious?

Eaters

A hearty bowl of grain? Something sweetened with molasses? A savory bowl of fresh-picked dandelions or morning glory? Concentrated alfalfa pellets?

Nope.

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I think I have four orphan-rear lambs this year. I say I think, because I never can be sure which lambs are nursing off the bucket.

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I’m cleaning off some things on my desk, and one is the slide deck & notes from a presentation by Dr. Robert Van Saun at the KHSI Expo last August. This was a fantastic presentation titled “Meeting the Nutritional Needs of Sheep to Promote Health and Performance.” He focused on pregnancy feeding. Those of you who know me well will recognize that this topic was right up my alley, especially on the subject of macro and micro element supplementation; and its health consequences.

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I spotted this in a magazine a while back. What in the world? You may know, I carry a fair amount of disdain for commercially made dog kibble; preferring to feed my dogs real, actual food. So, this ad cracked me up and caught my interest enough to visit Purina’s website to try to get at, what on earth are they thinking??

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imageNPR featured a recent study that showed that domestic dogs are genetically optimized to digest carbohydrates, unlike their wolf ancestors. This is cool; it seems to fall in line with what many biologists are now thinking- that dogs weren’t intentionally domesticated by people, but rather domesticated themselves by adapting to living near humans, and living off of the human waste stream.

It further explains why dogs can do at least ok, if not thrive, off of kibble, which is largely made up of grain sources. Wolves cannot: when fed dog kibble, they decline in health, and ultimately cannot reproduce. Wolves require a diet high in animal proteins to fuel their big frames and large brains. image

For those of us who make dog food at home, this is helpful new information. Many people have felt compelled to mimic a wolf’s diet, thinking that they should return to what’s biologically appropriate for a dog’s ancestors to best feed the dog. But reproducing the high-meat diet of wolves is expensive and difficult! This gives new credence to the idea that including grain in most dogs’ diets is fine, if not optimal for the typical dog. It’s certainly much more affordable and feasible than doing a mostly-meat diet.

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