• Egg mass changes: DO NOT change amino acids if the % lay drops unless the egg mass (% lay x size egg) is dropping too;
• Body weight changes: body weight affects energy needs, around +/-4 kcal every 50 grams of body weigh change;
• Calcium and phosphorus requirement changes: the phosphorus requirement decreases and the calcium requirement increases as the bird gets older;
• Feed intake changes: housing temperature will impact the feed intake. Hot temperature reduces the feed intake and vice versa.
Feed management on farm
- Due to the variability of the raw materials the nutrient composition of the feed varies, to avoid this challenge we recommend to follow the Chart 1 decision tree:
- 40 % in the morning and 60 % in the afternoon (chart 2).
- Layer hens should clear all feed left in the feeder during the noon period.
- The time at which the feeder is empty depends on the lighting program.
- Recommendations below are based on egg mass production.
- After the Onset feed it is recommended to use the 60–58 egg mass recommendation until the target egg weight is achieved. The other recommendations can be applied to control the egg size on target or when the egg mass production drops as the layer hen gets older.
- The energy recommendation of this guide doesn’t take into account the effect of the temperature in the needs of the layer hen. It needs additional adjustments by the nutritionist.
- Most of the energy intake will be used for maintenance. The body weight of the bird drives the energy requirement (see chart 3).
- There are different models to approach the energy evaluation, literature references (INRA, FEDNA, NRC . . .) usually in MEn and calculations based on formulas, whereby the different elements of the raw materials are taken into account. Due to the variability of the values given by different systems, the recommendation of energy is defined as a range.
- Energy recommendation is calculated for a specific body weight of the bird and might need adjustments (see foot notes of table 12).
- Most of the amino acid intake will be used for egg mass production. The egg mass, % lay x egg size, drives the amino acid needs (chart 4)
- The total amino acid recommendation is based on a feed with 85 % digestibility. It will need further adjustments by the nutritionist based on the digestibility of the diets of each customer. The formulation can be done using total or digestible AA.
- Do not use both values at the same time.
- Working with digestible AA is highly recommended when low digestible raw materials are used in the diet (see table 19 for the Ideal Protein Ratio recommendation).
Minerals and vitamins
- The vitamin and mineral requirement is shown in table 16.
- Ca and P requirement is shown in table 20.
• Adapt the data in table 15 to suit the
feed intake target.
• Example: Av P requirement after peak 380
mg: if feed intake is 115 grams, the minimum amount in feed should be 0.33 %.
- Using the minimum amount of crude protein is recommended if there is limited information about the raw materials.
- Added fat will reduce the dustiness of mash feed (1 – 2 % based on cost impact).
• Levels of Ca and P must be adapted as
the layer hen gets older.
• An excess or deficiency of P can cause
eggshell issues in the short or long term.
• Coarse limestone is necessary for eggshell quality. It can be replaced in part by
• Table 23 indicates the limestone particle
ratio in layers.
• Table 22 indicates how much grit should
be added directly to the feeding system.
- Enzymes: use and effect in the diet should be based on the available raw materials in the diet.
- Antioxidants: protect against oxidation of the oils in the feed mill and the oxidation of fats and others in the diet.
- Organic minerals: provide additional benefits to the existing inorganics and may reduce the inclusion levels of the minerals.
Brown nick Crystal | Super nick | Nick chick | Coral Brown nick Crystal | Super nick | Nick chick | Coral Brown nick Crystal | Super nick | Nick chick | Coral
Mash feed is the most commonly used feed throughout the world. Layer hens tend to eat the larger particles avoiding the fine particle s which is where most of the key nutrients are. Therefore, it is vital for successful nutrition to have a uniform particle structure. It is even more important in non-beak treated birds. Crumble and pellet forms can be used as long as the structure holds in the feeding system of the birds and it doesn’t become a fine particle mash.
Key points of the uniformity in mash diets
- Grinding of the raw materials
- Particle size of the protein sources
- Addition of liquids like oil that reduces the dustiness of feed
- Reduction of fine particle raw materials
- A good feed structure is even more important with non beak treated birds.
- See table 20 and 21 for feed particle size in pullet and layer feeds.
Good information is needed to formulate a realistic diet. A combination of available literature, wet chemistry methods and/or NIR is necessary to generate an updated matrix of the raw materials we use.
There are no specific guidelines in place, however the lower the contamination, the better the performance parameters. Ensure adequate control measures are in place to prevent microbiological risk factors in the diet. Extremely important is the prevention of SALMONELLA; stronger control measures than laying hens.
Oils in the feed mill and fat in the diet are the commonest components of oxidation. The quality control plan of raw materials should include analysis of the oxidation status of oils, evaluating at least two parameters of the available methods.
Follow the guidelines available in your country and literature to prevent negative effects on layer hen health and production. Adapt the use of mycotoxin binders to suit the level of risk in the diet and the contamination load in the raw materials.
Good understanding of the ANF will allow higher or lower inclusion levels of the raw materials.