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A comparison of methods of inducing a pause in egg production in cross bred layers

A comparison of methods of inducing a pause in egg production in cross bred layers

Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 31(6): 1153-1161

Three methods of inducing a pause in egg production in 84 wk old crossbred layers were compared with the conventional method of feed and water restriction. The alternative methods were the feeding of a nutritionally balanced diet high in Zn, a nutritionally balanced diet low in Ca and a nutritionally imbalanced diet low in Ca in the form of wheat alone. Birds on the low Ca diet and birds fed only on wheat were slow to reduce their rates of lay, and their subsequent rates of egg production were significantly lower than those of birds from the other treatments. Leg weakness was a major problem in birds on the nutritionally balanced, low Ca diet but not in birds fed on wheat only. In a 2nd experiment, graded levels of supplementary Zn were used to determine the optimum concentration required to induce a pause in egg production. Compared with birds rested by the conventional method, the birds given a diet high in Zn (18.7 g/kg diet) took approximately the same time to cease laying and to return to 50% production, and there were no significant differences in any production parameters examined. When graded levels of dietary Zn were used, only the 2 highest levels (7.5 and 18.7 g/kg) were effective in producing a pause in egg production. Feed intake was related to dietary Zn levels: high dietary Zn supplementation suppressed appetite and reduced daily feed intake to extremely low levels.

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