Combining genetics, nutrition and natural additives for improved layer profitability. Layer breeds these days have a higher persistency in their laying cycle and additionally can be in production fro much longer, resulting in more eggs during their production cycle. While this is mainly due to genetic improvements, the management – especially nutrition – of these highly productive layers should support these genetic benefits.
The high production potential applies to white as well as brown egg-producing lines across the globe. And because of ongoing genetic research, farmers are steadily increasing their egg production under all housing conditions. This higher performance was also achieved by an increased efficiency, which means that the daily feed intake hasn’t been increased over the past ten years.
Optimal layer nutrition for a long viability and a high number of saleable eggs starts directly after hatching. Good layer nutrition starts in rearing and therefore rearing must be seen as an investment. Rearing is the basic precondition for optimal performance. It is therefore absolutely essential to fulfill the nutritional demand for the enormous growth potential during the first half of the rearing period, followed by the decreased growth potential and nutritional consequences in the second half of the rearing period.
The feeding program during the first half of the rearing period needs to focus on an optimal supply of digestible amino acids and even minerals to ensure the basic growth of the inner organs, muscles and even the skeleton in this early stage of life.
The correct use of pre-layer feed can’t be stressed enough. Wait a while before giving pre-layer feed instead of giving it too early, because a pullet should never be pushed into lay too early as it will destroy the bird.
During the second half of the rearing phase, a reduced demand for protein and amino acids offers the chance to include lower-density raw materials with higher crude fibre content into the diet formulation. If suitable raw materials are available, it can be recommended to reach at least 5.5% crude fibre in this feeding phase.
Never forget that rearing continues after transfer, so take care of the increase in body weight after the transfer of the pullets – if they lose body weight, they will run into a catastrophe.
To increase profitability of the modern pullet
- Improve the overall rearing of the pullets.
- Improve the conditions during transfer.
- Emphasize the importance of pre-lay care and feed.
- Support daily feed, or nutrient intake at the start of production.
- Emphasize the idea of ‘feeding for gut health’.
- Improve the overall calcium intake.
- Take care of good liver health.
- Never make ‘bad’ compromises in feeding high production flocks.
Source: Extract from Robert Pottguetter, poultry nutritionist at Lohmann Tierzucht Germany