Special Advice for Layer Farmers on NUTRITION ( Great Stuff)
The bird should be ready to produce eggs by 18th week. If the flock is on standard weight the feed should be changed from low protein low calcium feed to higher protein, higher calcium feed at the onset of egg production.
A feed changes from feed containing approximately 1% calci-um (developer mash) to almost 4% cal-cium (layer mash) can result in reduction in feed intake for few days. The onset of egg production also results in stress. The increase in calcium levels can be gradual to reduce this stress. This change over can take 1 to 2 weeks to help individual birds adjust to the change in the physical proper-ty of layer mash.
The pre layer diet has 2.5 % calcium. The extra calcium while the bird does not lay goes in to reserves. The protein percentage can be kept at a high-er level (18%) in case the flock is below standard weight. The pre lay mash should be replaced by layer mash with 3.6-3.8% calcium by 1% egg production.
The feed quantity consumed depend on the metabolizable energy level in the feed. It is advisable to use the feed containing of 2750 K cal per Kg feed. The amino acid composition of the feed decides the egg size. Higher level of me-thionine (0.42%) is recommended in the beginning.
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The quantity is reduced if the eggs are getting over sized. The vitamins and mineral requirement of the bird is very critical. Available phos-phorous calcium and vitamin D3 are critical nutrients for egg production. A minimum level of 0.44% available phos-phorous is recommended during this peri-od.
The laying hen should be allowed to con-sume feed ad-libitum until the flock reach-es its maximum egg mass output. Feeders should allow for access to feed throughout the morning and evening hours. No harm is done when the flock is allowed to clean the feeder troughs during the middle of the day. Body weights are an excellent guide to help determine if feed consumption for the flock is adequate. Body weights should continue to increase, although very slowly, throughout the laying cycle. Decrease in body weight should be viewed as an in-dication of insufficient nutrient intake or starting of health problems.
The energy requirement of a laying flock needs to be determined and managed with the same concern as other nutrients a though birds do tend to adjust feed consump-tion to meet the energy need, this is not always done precisely enough to insure optimum growth performance.
Additional energy in the feed will at times result in better body weight gain, egg production, and increased egg size, particularly when nutrients such as protein and amino acids are proportionately increased.
A high energy ration reduces the daily feed consumption and should have higher protein. The low energy ration results in higher feed consumption and can have less protein.
The energy protein ratio calculated as C.P : M.E should be between 1:150 to 1:160.