Growth and laying performance of medium-type pullets subjected to quantitative and qualitative food restriction

Author: R.C. Maclachlan, A.J. Saunders and R.M. Gous
Year: 1977
Issue: 2
Volume: 7
Page: 97 - 103

The growth rate of medium-type pullets was manipulated by various quantitative and qualitative food restriction treatments in order to ascertain which of these methods produced the most satisfactory economic results. The results were based on food intake during the growing period, the number and mass of eggs produced, the final body mass and carcass analyses at various stages of growth. The rearing treatments included a control, where pullets were fed a rearing diet to 7 weeks then a growing diet to 20 weeks of age; a pullet developer treatment similar to the control, but where a third, low protein diet was fed from l2 weeks of age; a low protein treatment, where protein concentration was lowered at regular and short intervals throughout the growing period, and 3 quantitative restriction treatments designed to reduce body mass of pullets by 6, l2 and l8% below the control body mass at 20 weeks of age. The developer programme did not result in any advantage over the control treatment but both the low protein treatment and the quantitative food restriction treatments proved highly satisfactory in reducing both food consumption and body mass to 20 weeks of age, in delaying sexual maturity and in improving peak rate of lay and overall production performance. On the basis of rearing costs and laying performance the most severe level of quantitative restriction, namely 18% below the fully-fed control group, proved the most favourable rearing treatment of those used in this experiment .The results of the low protein rearing treatment were also very  favourable, however, and more work of this nature is warranted on the basis of these results.

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