Enhancing Egg Quality through Precision Layer Nutrition

Brown hen with basket full of eggs

In the quest to prolong the laying cycle and achieve impressive egg yields, precision nutrition strategies are gaining prominence among farmers. With the aim of extending the productivity of brown and white birds to 80 weeks with 380 eggs and 100 weeks with 500 eggs, precision becomes paramount.

Ralph Bishop, Premier Nutrition’s poultry nutrition and innovation manager, emphasized the crucial role of chick starter diets in achieving optimal pullet development. Addressing the British Free Range Producers annual conference in the UK, Bishop stressed the importance of proper chick starter nutrition for skeletal, organ, and muscle development during the initial 8-10 weeks.

For organ development, a dense ration with high energy (12MJ) and a well-balanced, highly digestible protein is essential. Careful consideration of calcium and phosphorous intake is also vital for strong bone development, with the addition of phytase enzymes proving beneficial.

While the period between weeks 10-16 may seem quiet in terms of bird development, Bishop highlighted its significance in preparing pullets for future challenges such as relocation to layer farms, vaccination, and the onset of the egg cycle. Training pullets to eat and developing the gizzard and gastrointestinal tract become crucial during this stage, aided by coarser particles and insoluble fibers.

From week 16 to maturity at 30 weeks, daily feed consumption rises from 75g/bird/day to approximately 120g to support an increase in bodyweight. Ensuring a suitable dense ration during this period is vital, especially as birds transition from no egg production at week 16 to reaching 90% production by week 22.

At 30 weeks, producers should focus on areas for improvement, contemplating egg size and the administration of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D3 to maintain high shell quality. Bishop recommended aiming for eggs weighing 62-63g to prevent potential issues with shell quality later in a hen’s life.

Addressing water quality, Charles Macleod, St David’s Poultry commercial manager of layers, emphasized its crucial role in preventing issues like gut dysbiosis. This condition could negatively impact egg production and quality, increase mortality and morbidity, decrease feed efficiency and growth performance, impair the immune system, and heighten susceptibility to other infections and gut inflammation.

Macleod also underscored the influence of feed composition, temperature, and humidity on water consumption, highlighting the need for a comprehensive approach to precision layer nutrition. This commitment ensures not only the extension of the laying cycle but also the production of high-quality eggs.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here