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The effect of delaying the onset of laying in pullets with a low calcium diet on subsequent egg production


, : The effect of delaying the onset of laying in pullets with a low calcium diet on subsequent egg production. British Poultry Science 19(1): 21-34

A low-Ca diet (0.5 g Ca/kg) was used to prevent onset of laying in young pullets. It was fed at 16 wk of age to 5 separate groups (groups 2-6) each of 50 to 60 birds. Group 2 was fed on a normal layers' diet at 23 wk of age, group 3 at 27 wk, group 4 at 31 wk, group 5 at 35 wk and group 6 at 55 wk, while the control group (group 1) of similar size to groups 2-6 was subjected to a normal commercial treatment for laying stock. In all experimental groups the onset of sexual maturity occurred normally, but only 1 or 2 eggs were laid before laying ceased under influence of the treatment. Laying re-started when hens were fed on a normal diet, and production rapidly rose to a high level. Groups 1, 2 and 3 differed little in total number of eggs produced up to 72 wk of age. In all experimental groups, there were fewer very small, small and medium eggs than in the control group. Use of a low-Ca diet before onset of lay may have advantages which could be exploited on a commercial scale.

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